What's It Worth by Jeff Hess

Posted: 2020-11-01

What's It Worth? Driving It Off The Lot
Tampa Bay Times
Many people use the phrase, “It will lose 30 percent when you drive it off the lot” in reference to buying not just cars, but jewelry, watches, pianos, and fine art from galleries as well. And indeed, because of retail markups, many of these, when sold at auction within one year of purchase, can’t possibly achieve the purchase price.

Posted: 2020-10-11

Today’s column will highlight one of our trusted longtime employees, an accomplished Graduate Gemologist – Darren Delgado – who is delighted that we are opening a new store in his original Tampa neighborhood. He grew up just a stone’s throw away from our new store on Swann Avenue. He went to grade school there and has deep Tampa roots. His father worked on the corner of Swann and Howard for over 25 years.

Posted: 2020-09-20

Everyone has underperforming assets – items that are unused or unwanted that aren’t doing any good sitting in drawers, at the bank or in your closet. In the case of watches, they might be deteriorating. With gold so high during these uncertain times, consider us when turning your underperforming assets into the cash that you could use to invest, go on vacation or pay bills. Katrina Hess is a nationally known graduate gemologist and founder of the GIA Alumni Association, and the Hesses are well known nationally.

Posted: 2020-09-13

Brooches have fallen out of favor during the past few years. Women often see them as gaudy. The ones who like them think that a simple costume jewelry brooch will do. But the common complaints about the fine gold versions are that they are “too heavy, and they ruin my blouse with their pins and mess up the drape of my outfit.”

But brooches are seeing a bit of a renaissance right now, surprisingly being worn by ... men! Most notably Adam Lambert, John Legend and Timothée Chalamet have been seen with oversized diamond brooches on their lapels.

Posted: 2020-08-23

When gold value reaches historic levels the margin among retail evaluations gets confused because of a myriad of market conditions.

We bought the three 18-karat, 20-karat and platinum purses from a Manhattan antiques dealer for $42,000, which is 1 percent under scrap value. The first purse has over 3 carats of diamonds and small sapphires in an elephant body. The elephant turns to unlock the purse. It weighs 7.22 Troy ounces. The plain purse (bottom right) weighs 8.8 Troy ounces and the large ruby-, diamond-and sapphire-encrusted purse (bottom left) weighs 8 Troy oz.

Posted: 2020-08-16

Everyone talks about the Rolex Daytona (A), like the stainless steel one pictured here, which we paid $100,000 for last year.
However, Longines, unlike today, was a true innovator in the 1930s and ’40s, and some designs like this chronograph (B) bring big dollars even in stainless steel. We paid $16,000 for this one (B) because of the unusual Longines movement, the blocky case and the military issue, even though it is missing parts.
Modern Longines chronograph watches bring $500 to $3,000, but those created before the 1950s can bring $10,000 to $30,000 in stainless steel!

Posted: 2020-08-09

Katrina and I have written a lot about sapphires. We love them and of course, as is the norm for gemstones, most we see are heated or treated, and with Thailand or Ceylon as country of origin.

Posted: 2020-08-02

Sometimes, valuation is almost impossible to determine with unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. This pendant encompasses an incredible amount of influences and materials. How do you value something that is both art deco and Greco-Roman in style? Something that has enamel and diamonds and platinum and gold? Something that has a child and cherubs in a musical scene made by Wedgwood? Something that has a chain of platinum and gold with Wedgwood stations and natural pearls? Something that was handcrafted in the 1930s for Verger Frères – one of the most celebrated jewelry houses in Paris?

Posted: 2020-08-02

Cartier is one of the most sought-after and collectible brands, even when it comes to items that most people think are common or unattractive.

Typically, a very heavy gold item that is rather plain will bring only the gold value. In the case of this large 50-gram chain, we paid 15 percent more than the gold value of $2,200 at the time of purchase, or $2,530. We were able to achieve a profit above that because people love the name Cartier on any piece of jewelry, attractive or not.

Posted: 2020-07-01

The 1950s to 1980s are the hot trend today.

When we first went into the antique business in the 1980s, no one wanted that ugly (at the time) 1950s and ’60s modern-ist design; the bizarre clock in your mom’s kitchen or the odd Danish-designed table in your parents’ den was not so much collectible as old hat.

In the grand spirit of “everything old is new again,” from around 2005, these mid-century modern pieces started to enjoy a renewed hipness, especially among twentysome-things.