A few years back, a Miami antiques dealer asked us to partner with him on a Breguet watch. I was skeptical about this, since 99 percent of the Breguet watches brought to us are not authentic. Breguet is the most faked watch in the world. Complicated men’s Breguet watches have brought almost a million dollars at auction. In addition to my skepticism about the manufacturer, the Miami jeweler said it had belonged to a princess.
What's It Worth by Jeff Hess
Recently, a California dealer found a real treasure at a local Los Angeles auction. It was damaged and short and he didn’t know what to do with it, so he asked us to partner with him to purchase it because we have two Master Jewelers, one who is an expert at laser welding and another who is a trained European Master Jeweler. He was able to buy this for an advantageous price of only $5,000, and asked if we could fix the fine filigree, replace the old cut diamonds, and repair the bracelet.
When I became a graduate gemologist in 1985, we relied on three things — education, simple tools and intuition — to identify gems, especially dimaonds. The course is difficult in the beginning, with a lot of dry humdrum and specifics. While Jeffrey graduated with a GIA certificate in diamonds, I went all the way — completing my GG and taking other courses like the pearl course.
Our tools were simple: a scope, a loupe, and a refractometer. With these tools, I could be 100 percent sure what a stone was and what it was not.
While our business concentrates on expensive jewelry, fine and decorative arts, expensive antiques and high-end watches, we also are very strong buyers of scrap gold. We have bought hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of scrap gold over our 30 years and watch the precious metal market closely. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me when to sell gold, I’d be a zillionaire.
The garnet is one of the most plentiful gemstones in the world. Most garnets are inexpensive gems and are characterized as red Bohemian garnets. Other types include the tsavorite garnet and the exciting demantoid garnet – so named because its brilliance resembles that of diamonds. Demantoids are often mistaken for emeralds, but are worth far more than most emeralds. While loose Bohemian garnets can be bought for a few dollars a carat, some demantoids — especially in jewelry — can bring hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, if they are large in size and set in exciting jewelry.
Most people realize that old Rolex sports watches like Submariners, Daytonas, GMTs and Explorers go for fabulous money even in stainless steel. This week we are showing a couple of unusual Rolexes that you rarely see and that are highly collectible. The one on the left is an example of one of the few limited editions Rolex has ever made — the King Midas. It weighs an amazing 191 grams. Because these watches weren’t popular at the time and are usually beat up, we rarely pay over the gold value, which is approximately $5,300.
Instead of writing about what something is worth today, we are going to take this opportunity to invite you to meet us in person at the Tampa Bay Times Women’s Expo. The expo will not only feature make-and-takes, cooking demos, spa services, and seminars on a wide range of women’s interests (not the least of which include jewelry and fine art) – but an opportunity to meet Katrina and me. Taking place on Saturday, April Presented by 20, at The Coliseum in downtown St. Pete, we are the major sponsor of the event. Plus, admission is free!
The Edwardian Era was a much-celebrated period when artisans were creating amazing jewelry that bridged the gap between the Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. Pieces were often characterized by bi-metal with gold in back and platinum in front, very white, and older-cut diamonds and gemstones typically facing up, very white.
Rolex Submariners have been the mainstay of the watch collections of men of means since the 1970s. First launched in the 1950s, the Rolex Submariner took a few years to catch on — but by the ’80s the Submariner was Rolex’s most popular and enduring design. Millions were manufactured, and this watch has remained the single most popular watch.
From time to time in What’s It Worth, we discuss specific memorable encounters with Tampa Bay residents. After all, the value of this column is as much about human nature as it is about dollars and cents.
In 1991 an absolutely beautiful woman came to our store wanting to sell some old jewelry. From a small beaded bag, she pulled a 10.8 carat diamond ring and a platinum diamond bracelet.