What's It Worth by Jeff Hess

Posted: 2023-06-02

We thought we would share a few things we purchased this past month.

A. A David Webb GIA 1.13ct diamond center, 18k gold and platinum ring, 1.90 ctw. Signed, numbered w/report. We paid $7,000.

B. A heavy, retro deco Cartier London natural ruby and diamond bracelet, 18k rose gold, consigned to us for auction on our sister site Hess Fine Auctions. Est.: $10,000 to $15,000.

C. A Van Cleef & Arpels necklace. We paid $15,000.

D. JE Caldwell of Philadelphia 1930s 7.5ct diamond graduated platinum filigree antique bracelet w/box; we paid $5,000.

Posted: 2023-05-01

On occasion, all aspects of valuation come together in a positive fashion. This piece is an example of all things lining up beautifully.

Posted: 2023-03-24

Today I write about the most magnificent emerald we have ever owned.

Emeralds values are based on how green they are and how clean they are. Large, very green but not heavily included can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But heavily included often bring much less. Some people say “flaws” or “carbon,” but these terms are incorrect. Imperfections in emeralds are often referred to as “Jardin”... French for garden.

Posted: 2023-03-10

A Texas estate jeweler heard about our propensity for vintage high-end artisan jewelry and approached us with a fantastic Van Cleef & Arpels signed and numbered platinum art deco brooch.

Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in the 1890s by gem cutter Alfred Van Cleef and his partner and gem dealer Salomon Arpels. Their partnership resulted in jewelry with only the finest color stones that were expertly and finely cut and of the highest caliber.
These pieces were often worn by royalty.

Posted: 2023-02-17

An exciting item crossed our desk last week. Exciting because it encompassed just about every sense that collectors, hoarders and investors love. Every emotion that collectors share was tickled a bit. The “investment” aspect of collecting ignited the brain. The beta waves that the brain produces in response to focus, excitement and concentration were on full alert.

What is this thing? A work of art? Yes. One-of-a-kind (“piece unique” in collectors jargon)? For sure! Of local interest? Oh yes! Made of solid gold or something valuable? Definitely!

Posted: 2023-02-10

Everyone loves a treasure hunt. Today, I thought I might write about secret deals, little treasures, lucky finds or metziahs. Often hiding in plain sight, these apparent “nothings” can make you some real money.

We love to buy currency collections, especially the old large-size bills; and if you have such a collection, bring it in. While there are many surprises lurking in currency collections, one normal small-size bill stands out. The 1933 $10 bill can be worth
$25,000 in crisp new condition, and even a circulated one can be worth $1,000. Do you have one?

Posted: 2023-02-03

We write a lot about the “four Cs” of diamonds: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. And as you have learned from previous columns, larger round, white, clean diamonds are considered, in most circles, the best and the priciest. A five-carat D color, flawless clarity with excellent cut and symmetry will wholesale for around $500,000. When you add a fancy mounting and a dealer’s 20%-or-so markup, you are nearing the $750,000 range! Add the name Tiffany or Cartier and a price of $1,000,000 is not out of the question.

Posted: 2023-01-06

With such an unexceptional, plain-sounding signature of Yard, it might be easy to dismiss a piece of jewelry marked with that one common word.

But what is not as easily dismissed is the vibrant color of the incredible ruby in the center of the piece – and the exceptionally white and clean side diamonds (not to mention the impeccable workmanship).

When a New Hampshire jeweler contacted us about this piece, he had already done his homework and knew that Yard was the mark of Raymond C. Yard.

Posted: 2023-01-04

To know the real worth of a piece, we need to see it. Here are some of the things we buy.

Posted: 2022-12-26

Seems a bit untoward to write an advertorial on Christmas Day about crass buying-and-selling stuff. But this column is about value and without a doubt, family and health are the most valuable things we possess.

When I met Katrina on an online jewelry industry “bulletin board” in the late 1990s, we sparred good naturedly via this now archaic mode of communication about a myriad of jewelry-related topics, but mostly about valuation theory.