The Story of Fabulous Jewelry, etc.…an Appraiser’s Perspective

There exists forever the story of family heirloom jewelry brought to me for appraising. I was reminded recently of the sentimental journey these valuables take as I helped sort a large assortment of jewels from the lock box of a client’s mother for division of her property. No longer able to handle her affairs for some time now, her only daughter was assigned the task, struggling to lug the items to me for viewing. Sterling silver flatware and holloware was included in the vast assortment as well as a vintage sterling silver lady’s Art Nouveau cigar cutter on a long chain. Since my great grandparents had manufactured cigars at the turn of the last century in the building we currently occupy, I was fascinated to see this little “gem”.

The daughter had paid close attention through the years and was very aware of the best of the jewels. Many of the rings had legacy stories having been accompanied with hand written notes and a few photos in lockets. Other items were mysteries? Perhaps these were purchased at auctions, estate sales, or inherited from other family members long ago? Unless this information is shared with loved ones it is anyone’s best guess…If only the jewels could talk!
One item was especially interesting that it was nestled in a dark blue velvet fitted box reminiscent of the Nouveau riche: a lovely antique filigree brooch with thirty-three old European-cut diamonds totaling nearly 4 carats. Constructed of platinum and 14K white gold it depicts the best of fine lacy wire craftsmanship detailing unbelievable workmanship. One could only imagine the woman who wore this during the Edwardian era – perhaps for her wedding? Who purchased this and where was it made? No trademark exists to suggest a clue.

Another prized possession-an extraordinary family heirloom, an Edwardian ring was gifted to the daughter with a center diamond containing 81-facets. Bearing a registered trademark inside the shank, the platinum mounting is encrusted with 21 old European-cut diamonds plus one more modern-cut diamond melee- perhaps a replacement? Designed by Whitehouse Brothers in Cincinnati – a jewelry company still manufacturing die struck styles today – a featured vendor at Eichhorn Jewelry, it is truly fabulous! This ring is perhaps one of the most beautiful I have ever seen in 50 years! For its day, it would have been considered an ‘important’ piece of truly fine jewelry.

Many years from now someone will still appreciate these phenomenal works of art and enjoy their stories. A thing of beauty is a joy forever!

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