Newark Gem-set Gold Lapel Watch, ca. 1900
This is something I inherited from my grandmother. I call it a pin watch.
Do you know where your grandmother got it?
No, I don't. It's something that's been in her family for a long time. She was born in the late 1800s. I believe it came from one of her family members, but they came from Germany, so that's all the history I know about it. Have no written information on it.
What you have is a wonderful example of American jewelry from the turn of the century, turn of the last century, around 1900.
Oh, my goodness.
But a piece of jewelry that's wonderful on many levels, and it owes a debt to European inspiration. Let me first point out it is a watch, yes, you're absolutely right. It's a lapel watch, but it's more significant actually as a piece of jewelry. It's a good quality, somewhat generic American watch movement from that period, but it's set into a gold setting of intertwined snakes made by a very well-known Newark jeweler called Bippart, Griscom, and Osborn, and the mark, it says "14K," and next to it is the mark of the Newark jeweler. Newark, New Jersey, was one of the main centers of American jewelry making at that time. You've got emeralds, diamonds, demantoid garnets, which are typical of the period, green garnets, rubies, more emerald, cabochon emerald, and diamonds. These intertwined snakes you see in English jewelry, you see it in French jewelry, and now you see it in American jewelry as well. It's all very good quality, well-rendered gold work, absolutely the best you would see in the U.S. at that time. Even underneath the face, you see green guilloche enamel, which you can see... Through it. ...through the pierce work. Snakes were not an evil symbol; they were a symbol of everlasting love.
Is that right?
Yeah, so it was a motif that was common in the Victorian period and much earlier as well. Oh, my goodness. So it's a watch, yes, but more importantly, it's a lovely example of American jewelry from the very beginnings of American jewelry manufacturing. Oh, my goodness. At a retail level, in a retail store, this would probably be priced around $12,000.
Oh, my goodness. Is that right? I'm surprised, I had no idea.
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