Art deco diamond jewelry appraisal

Hello everyone a very good friend of mine came across a pendant and
a brooch in white gold or platinum ( to make a long story short , a
relative had passed away and under her bed in a box full of
memories, pictures and many more treasures , this pieces where found)
european Jewish relative by the way , my friend is not the type that
would use this kind of jewelry.

She asked me to value them , but my experience in this type of
jewelry is null , and I offered her to post here and see if anyone
could help in any way possible from , directing me to someone who
knows about the period , or someone who collects , or values this
kind of jewelry,

the pieces are very well crafted , covered with diamond pave, and
the metal is white I havent tested them to know if it is white gold
or platinum ( by the way not sure how any tips?

the pictures are bad I know if someone needs better quality for an
assessment as well as pictures from the back Ill get them done, the
metal appears yellowish in the pictures it is WHITE is natural light
with an ipad, thats why…

Yves Roldan

Yves, we recently had a thread on becoming a jewelry appraiser which
pointed out how much knowledge and study is necessary for a person to
competently appraise jewelry. If you are talking about a formal
appraisal and don’t know where to start on a piece like this, you
should, for your own protection and that of the jewelry’s owner, pass
it on to someone who can appraise it well.

There are liability issues and hurt feeling lurking in a situation
like this if everyone does not understand that a replacement cost
appraisal vs a retail value vs a wholesale value (similar to estate
sale value) appraisal are all different, etc.

That said, an owner may want a rough idea of what the piece is worth,
a “seat-of-the-pants” appraisal, so to speak, and not want to pay an
antique jewelry expert to do a formal appraisal. It really isn’t
possible to establish a reliable value for pieces like this without
looking at comparables sold at auction and/or by antique jewelry
dealers or at their websites.

To intelligently use the comparables, you’d have to test the metal
and establish what it is. You can do this by streak test with acids
or with one of the newer electronic gizmos. If you can find a
hallmark or karat mark, this may be good enough and perhaps you know
all about this already. Besides testing the metal, you would weigh
the piece and then estimate the total diamond weight. Then by
subtraction you can establish an estimated weight for the metal.

You’d also grade the diamonds and establish an average grade for the
melee and a grade for each larger diamond. Then you would look for
sales of pieces of similar style and compare the diamond weights and
grades of your pieces with those sold, as well as the weight of
metal. You’d also compare the workmanship of the pieces. All of this
allows you to say what the comparable price at auction or from average
internet or store sales is.

Fortunately, it is a lot easier today to find info. Just google “art
deco diamond brooch images” and you should be able to find some
websites at which to inquire about this kind of jewelry. Those who
sell it are expert in valuing it. Just be sure that the valuation is
greater than the sum of its parts!

If you are seriously interested in valuing antique jewelry, you might
investigate purchasing jewelry appraisal software. It is not all that
expensive (maybe $500/yr to start). This will not make you competent
to appraise, but it gives you a database and then you can see what
expertise is required by reading few books on jewelry appraisal, such
as those by Anna Miller.

Thank you very much Roy I will take in consideration all that you are
telling me.

I have used Professional Jewelry Appraisals — The American Gem Registry in Denver.

I have worked with him for many years. He has all the training and
knows his stuff, he did custom and repair for many years before
becoming a gem and jewelry appraiser. His name is Neal Beaty as you
can call on him to discuss your needs. A very comprehensive
appraisal report.

Richard Hart

Not sure if she can do it from pics or not, but member David Phelps’
wife Gaybeth does really excellent appraisals. David may chime in on
his own here.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

Please whatever you do don’t scrap them out to make something else
with the diamonds. You can hardly find this kind of craftsmanship any
more. With the price of metals so high so many folks are melting down
lovely pieces.

I’d recommend taking them to someone who actually knows vintage art
deco jewelry and who is a professional appraiser.

Jo Haemer

thanks for all the tips thats what I love of Ganoksin! and of course
if my friend even thought of taking them appart I woul buy them
myself just to save them, but no dont worry she might sell them but
only for what they are worth,

greetings from Tepoztlan Mexico

Hi Yves,

The first (and arguably the most important) question is “What
‘value’ is she looking for?” Does she want to sell it? Does she want
to include it in her will and needs a value to make sure everything
works out right with the kids (and/or the taxes) when the time comes?
Does she want to insure it? These are important questions because
each different reason dictates a different value, sometimes very
different. If it has a T&Co, VC&A or Cartier logo, or an exclusive
artist’s, then it has a whole new dimension of difficulty added to
it’s valuation.

Of course the most common answer to that question is “I really don’t
care about all that, I just want to know what it’s worth.” I never
have figured out how to respond to that one, other than to tell them
how much we charge for an appraisal. What I really want to say is
“are you buyin’ another one or sellin’ this one?”

The truth about appraisals of jewelry like your friend has, is that
a detailed and accurate description is far more important than the
value assigned, for anything other than insurance that is. They use
the value only to set the premium and max payout. Any other use by
insurance companies usually relies on the description more than the
value too.

A good description should be able to tell anyone in the trade that
reads it how to value the jewelry for whatever their purpose might
be, regardless of the type of valuation assigned. A good appraisal
should also include decent quality photos, front and back, which are
also quite helpful to anyone relying on the appraisal, especially for
replacement or identification in the case of loss or theft.

She really needs to talk with an appraiser that is familiar with
older jewelry if the value she is looking for is for a specific
purpose and needs to be in writing. Or to an auction house if she
wants to sell it. If she doesn’t want to pay for an appraisal and
just wants to get a feel for what it might bring on the open market,
EBay is a good place to start looking for similar items for sale.
Then she could take it to a few places that specialize in estate and
period jewelry and see what’s for sale and then what she’s offered
for it. The differences I’m talking about will become very apparent,
very quickly.

For what it’s worth and from what I see in your photos, it looks to
me like both pieces are definitely worth getting a good, professional

That’s the closest to a valuation as you’re gonna get out of me for
no charge. :wink:

Her best bet is to go to the National Association of Jewelry
Appraisers website - to find a qualified appraiser
in her area, assuming she’s in the US. Elsewhere, I’m not sure who to
call, but a bit of web surfing should take care of it; NAJA might
even be helpful there too.

Hope this is at least somewhat helpful.

Dave Phelps

Hi Yves,

I can highly recommend Susan Schwartz in Franklin, TN for
appraisals. She is a very knowledgeable professional. I have referred
my clients to her for the last 12 years and they are always pleased
with her thorough analysis.

Beautiful pieces by the way!

How that helps,
Donna W
Huntsville, AL

Thank you David im relaying you’re email to her right now as I says
she is a dear friend, she lives here in Mexico but her Mom still lives
in TX so she goes there often enough.

Thanks !