Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jewelry Collecting

Where does one begin on the topic of jewelry?
From the simple shell beads worn by Paleolithic hunters, to the history of jewelry design from the exquisite early medieval pieces and the splendor of Renaissance
gold work, to the sumptuousness of Art Nouveau enamels and Art Nouveau
periods, jewelry throughout the twentieth-century and right up to the present,
the development of jewelry is a fascinating history.

I personally enjoy looking at sparkling diamonds, swoon when staring at rubies and opals, thrill at art deco and art Nouveau designs, and harbor a hint of envy when I look at those fortunate to wear fine jewels. But alas, I am but a commoner when it comes to jewelry. I do not own bejeweled brooches, pendants, earrings, and tiaras (do possess a costume version of a tiara – will tell the story behind that later), that encompass beauty and technical virtuosity, but I do have few fine pieces that I dearly love and sincerely treasure. Here are a few of my coveted pieces I displayed in a shadow box:
* My first gold (plated) bracelet
* A Minnie (not Mickey) Watch (band long gone)
* Popular in the 1980s, a gold charm holder w/tiny
   icons of affection
* Brass plate engraved with Keith’s (hubby) name 
* Sterling Silver cuff bracelet from Tiffany
* Olsen European Tours Pin (circa 1972)
* My tiny duck ring & charm bracelet
   (don’t remember wearing either of them)
* My absolutely favorite pin of all time (the ballerina I never became)
* A Garnet Ring (pretended it was a Ruby)  * Souvenir Pin from Paris
* My Father’s Grandfather Ring with the birthstones of his two grandchildren: 
   Diamond for Tiffeni & Alexandrite for Charlie)
* Ivory ring Keith brought home from one of his Naval Duties
* “Pet Rock” pendent (1970s craze),
* My first watch (a grade school graduation gift)

I have other pieces of jewelry I have saved over the year, my favorite is my
“Charm Bracelet.” (I will post in-depth on this subject soon). But the one piece
I have that has a story to tell is this one:
Starburst Diamond Ring or Princess Ring

Measuring 1” from top to bottom and from left to right, rounded square in shape, it has 32/2-diamond prongs with a total of 64 diamonds of same size diamonds plus 2 top diamonds of larger size, totaling one full Karat.  The diamonds appear to be a slender, rectangular baguette cut. The two top accent stones in the central are larger and brilliant-cut. Craftsmanship excellent.
As the rings’ facets are rectilinear and arranged parallel to the setting, the diamonds are known as step cut stones, popular in the Art Deco period. The symmetrical arrangement of facets is well proportioned. There is a jeweler’s mark and some initials engraved into the 14K white gold band.  
I purchased the ring from at an estate auction and proudly worn it since. I marvel at the stares it gets and enjoy answering the questions I’m asked. “Are those diamonds real?” “How many karats?” “Can I try it on?”  

Then one evening while watching our local PBS station, a new program was seeking participants who had antiques they would like to have appraised on live TV on a new show called, “Virginia Valuables.”  In the style of “Antiques Roadshow,” guests were paired with local appraisers and their treasures – all while the cameras rolled – captured the owner’s joy and disappointment as the object was being appraised.
What fun! Or was it? 

In order to get on the show, you were required to send in pictures of your antiques.
It could be art, furniture, jewelry, clothing, etc. I thought it would be fun so I sent in pictures of several of my antiques, one of which was the ring.

Guests on the program were identified through the Community Idea Stations Appraisal Fair, hosted at the station over two days in September 2011. From more than 370 entries, 50 were chosen to meet the appraisers.

When I got the call (I was at a grocery store) they told me they were interested in one      
of my offerings. I was thrilled, but was really surprised when they picked the ‘ring.’
“Why,” I asked. 
They said it was certainly a glamorous ring and felt it would look great on the show. 
So my daughter and I drove to Richmond from Williamsburg, over an hours drive. (Would have gotten there sooner but got lost.) Once there, we were ushered into the       studio and to wait my turn. Meanwhile, we watched two other presenters which              gave me a good idea as to what to expect. Now it was my turn!
I had been on live television before and knew what to expect. Calm and inquisitive, I let the appraiser do his job.

With the powerful lights focused on the ring, it sparkled so that even Elizabeth Taylor would have been proud to be its owner. As he talked, he closely examined the ring.    
With his jewelers eye (magnifying tool) he offered a rather cunning smile. I had a suspicion that he was going to devalue it somehow. After all, the show, likes its sister show, enjoys creating tension leading to the moment when they say, “Well . . . he said,”
“Due to the current vogue for brilliant and brilliant-like cuts, step cut diamonds may       suffer somewhat in value. Stones that are deep enough may be re-cut into shapes that are more popular. 
Antique jewelry of the period features step-cut stones prominently and there is a market in producing new step-cut stones to repair antique jewelry or to reproduce it.”
He called it a PRINCESS RING. With its 14K White Gold, one full Karat & excellent craftsmanship, circa 1960, his appraisal result at auction today, could have a auction bid of $900. I purchased the ring for $800 in 1981.
(You would thing a ring so unusual would have gain in value . . .)
Seeing the shock on my face, which the camera and crew loved (perfect for the audience),  he explained that the low appraisal was due to the recession.
(I don’t think so . . .)
I am sure I am missing some details of this event, but for what it was worth, the experience was interesting and now I know how those people on Antiques Road Show, even those who show their things on the new pawn shop show, feel. And if you should have a similar experience and are not satisfied with the outcome, get another appraisal.

This taping aired on Monday, November 28, at 8:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS.
The tagline for "Virginia Valuables" read; "a one-hour special where Virginia residents discovered if their treasures had more than just sentimental value."  
Next Post: Mother's Day Cards




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love all the info you provide on creating a family museum. Your So many of our treasures are packed away in closets and storage bins. Your ideas on how to display these treasures and memories are wonderful. Dee