1820s Georgian Gold & Enamel Vinaigrette Bracelet
About 20 years ago, I was with a friend and we just decided to go into an antique mall and I saw this bracelet. And it didn't just speak to me, it shrieked to me. All I had was pocket change, so I had to borrow the $64 for the bracelet from my friend. And when I got home, I was so excited I decided I would take it to a local jewelry store and have him tell me if it was a really valuable piece. So I showed it to him and he said, "Oh, those stones are fake and this is made out of copper" and he gave it back to me and I was all deflated. So then I decided to send a picture of it to the author of a book on antique jewelry that I had. And he sent me back a nice letter saying that he thought that the bracelet was from the early 1800s and that it might be Swiss. But he didn't give many more details than that unless I would come and show him in person.
Well, the first part of the story-- the gentleman who said that this was fake and copper-- was incorrect.
Oh, I'm so glad.
What you have here is a bracelet from about the 1820s. It is gold; it's also enamel. Now, the stones are what are called foil backs. And what that means is that the stones had colored foil put behind them so as to even the color out amongst the stones because during this period, it was hard to find stones that matched in color. So many times these stones are either colorless topaz or colorless quartz that they would then put the pink foil behind to give this pink coloration.
But they are real stones?
They are real stones, yes. The enamelwork here is a type of enamelwork called champlevé, where the surface of the metal is engraved. The enamel is then laid into the surface of the metal and then sanded down flush. I think the piece probably was made in Switzerland. There are no hallmarks on the piece. Many times this type of enameling was referred to as Swiss enameling because a lot of this enameling came out of Geneva. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean this was from Geneva or Switzerland, but it's indicative of that style.
Especially from that period. The other nice thing about this particular bracelet, which is sort of the secret part of it, is that the bracelet opens up.
And what we have in here is a compartment, and the central compartment has a pierced grillwork in the center part. This is what is referred to as a vinaigrette. In the 18th and 19th century, when one was walking in the streets, the streets were not as clean as they are nowadays and there were a lot of obnoxious smells and aromas that one would be assaulted with on the street. And so a lady would have this on her wrist and if she was feeling faint or smelled a bad smell, she could open this up and take a quick smell of perfume or a lovely scent to sort of revive her senses. I would put an insurance value on this piece of approximately $6,000.
Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Broadway's Best on PBS
Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles; One Man, Two Guvnors; Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, and Lea Salonga in Concert.