What's It Worth by Jeff Hess

Posted: 2022-10-18

We love antique and art deco jewelry. But we buy expensive jewelry of ALL kinds. Today we will highlight a few items that came in from a specific current manufacturer and designer, “Sophia D.”

While we write a lot about our love of vintage Cartier, Tiffany and Harry Winston (as well as Van Cleef & Arpels and David Webb), we absolutely LOVE the designs of Sophia D.

Many of us former mid-westerners and southerners think of New York as (like the saying goes) “a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Noisy, fast-paced, chaotic, overwhelming.

Posted: 2022-10-04

On the heels of last week’s Tiffany article, readers brought in two extraordinary Tiffany items. The first is a 14k gold signed and numbered natural sapphire art deco brooch with only about $300 in gold. We paid $1,000 for it because of its extraordinary design, the fineness of the sapphires and the numbered piece. It was possibly made by designer Oscar Heyman on special order. It is for sale in our store for only $1,500. Call us if you would like to see it.

Posted: 2022-10-04

To say we were stunned when a Tampa Bay woman brought this astonishing ring to us would be an understatement. Valuation, as discussed before, is not always specific, especially with rare or one-of-a-kind items.

The woman came in to sell an important Tiffany piece to us that had been in the family for over 100 years (more on this in a later column), and brought along a few other family treasures.

This ring was made circa 1821. And it was in its original box. It was essentially in new condition, as it had been rarely – if ever – worn.

Posted: 2022-10-04

When an Indiana jeweler called us with a Tiffany & Co. ruby for sale for $11,000, we quickly said, “Ship it!”

It sounded too good to be true and, in a way, it was.

The jeweler had had the stone sent to GIA, and while “smallish” at 1.78 carat, it was deemed to be from Burma and to have “no heat.”

As we have discussed before, most rubies sold today are from Thailand and other countries, and 95 percent are heated to make them look much better than they naturally occur.

Posted: 2022-10-04

A North Carolina jeweler, helping a local octogenarian sell some family heirlooms, sent us a photo of a very colorful necklace last month. She described it as nongold and colorful paste, telling us it was “costume jewelry.”

We don’t deal in most costume jewelry, but do enjoy centuries-old heavy gold plate “French paste” costume jewelry, which often brings hundreds of dollars. Based on her description, we made an offer of $1,000 for the suite. Upon receiving it, we were pleased and paid her.

Posted: 2022-02-27

A Maryland jeweler heard we were experts in Cartier jewelry. While we have already written about Cartier three times this year, this piece is too beautiful not to share.

Vintage Cartier items are some of the most soughtafter items in the world of vintage jewelry. Typically the older the better – with Art Deco being the most coveted. However, Cartier craftsmen were still making mid-century modern masterpieces into the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

Posted: 2022-02-13

Long before the extremely popular Balloon Bleu Cartier watches made today, Cartier, Tiffany and many others made Montgolfier items. Watchmakers, craftspeople and jewelers made items in the form of balloons. Tiffany made some, but Cartier was a huge maker of these specially named Montgolfier pieces, in honor of the brothers who practically invented the hot air balloon. These highly collectible items are rarely seen today.

The Montgolfier era of collectibility typically spans from the 1820s to the 1930s.

Posted: 2022-02-06

When I was a kid in Central Illinois I took great joy in getting a letter addressed to me. They might have been from an aunt or uncle, or maybe just an ad, but I was thrilled to go to the mailbox.

Today I opened a nondescript package from a jeweler in Texas and once again I got the same feeling as that kid at the mailbox. The jeweler, without telling me, sent two extraordinary Cartier pieces from completely different eras and I thought it would be fun to share with you.

Posted: 2022-01-16

We were excited when we got the call. A jeweler in South Florida had come across one of what is considered the Holy Grail of Rolex Submariners. The coveted 6204 is one of the earliest of all Rolex Submariners — made in 1953 with a decidedly different look than today’s Submariners. It’s smaller in size, has no crown guards and is often referred to as the James Bond model.

Posted: 2022-01-09

We recently bought from a Rhode Island jeweler a stunning signed Gumbiner suite of sapphire jewelry valued at well over $200,000.