What's It Worth by Jeff Hess

Posted: 2020-05-01

Recently we attended a trade show, a get-together of 150 jewelers. Events like this are not open to the public and we were a bit late in arriving. Most of the good deals had already been snatched up quickly by other attendees. Thankfully, many in the group saved under their tables a “Hess bag” with things they knew we were top buyers of.

Posted: 2020-05-01

Opals are probably the most misunderstood gem in the world because they come in such a wide variety of color, clarity, size and price ranges.

Department store opals that are very white (a.) with little play of color have a very low resale value of between $5 and $10. Jelly opals (b.) look like they are suspended in jelly and have a better resale value, a.but still are relegated in fair market terms to $5 to $50.

Posted: 2020-05-01

I have often said that the biggest diamond mine in the world is the jewelry boxes of American women. We have bought millions of dollars worth of diamonds each year from people just like you. We buy from jewelers and dealers across the country, and last week, a jeweler from Texas sent us this beauty.

These odd-looking diamonds are called “rose cuts.” They were popular in Russia and Middle Eastern countries centuries ago and are highly sought after today, and not just because of their unusual shape — but because they are rather inexpensive!

Posted: 2020-04-01

A California jeweler offered us a long David Yurman tiger eye necklace in 18k gold that retailed originally for $10,000 (Today, it would likely retail for $16,000 or more).

He only wanted a bit over the gold value so we speculated, buying the almost 60-gram necklace for $2,400.

The San Francisco seller said he bought it for scrap value and had “no market” for tiger eye and “no market” for Yurman.

Posted: 2020-04-01

We have decided, for the time being, to continue with our Sunday informational column. We hope you are staying safe and are at home in good spirits.

Need to talk about something? Antiques or jewelry oriented? Email us. We have decided to focus this week on something pretty. And whimsical.

Posted: 2020-03-01

Patek Philippe has long been considered the best watch in the world. In the 30 years we have been buying in Tampa Bay, we have unearthed real gems including a Patek Philippe wrist chronograph that we paid over $225,000 for.

Posted: 2020-03-01

Recently a jeweler from Troy, NY, contacted us about an Edwardian-era, circa 1910 butterfly brooch. He sent a photo and we were skeptical that it might be a reproduction.

At first, we had said no — as we thought the condition was too good for it to be an original. At his insistence, we let him send us this magnificent emerald, ruby and diamond pin.

Posted: 2020-03-01

Some call Paul Nettler Lackritz a genius. Some say he was an artist, and some say a trendsetter. But most say, “Who is Paul Lackritz?”

Little is known about him except that he was born in Russia in 1872, growing his business as a silversmith and jewelry designer into a three-store “chain.” First in Chicago, then opening in New York and then Beverly Hills.

Posted: 2020-02-01

What do successful men do with all that money? Why, the same thing most men of any means do – collect shiny things.

We spend a lot of time (and effort) writing about shiny, expensive things for women. Diamonds, colored gemstones set in rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. But what about men?

I can attest with assurance that manly men also like shiny things and can be even more distracted by them and inclined to excess, as evidenced in today’s tale of a local billionaire who had a taste for the “big five” of male distractions – pens, knives, firearms, watches and cars.

Posted: 2020-01-01

A few years back, we received a furtive and anxious call from an elderly woman living in an upscale assisted living facility that we obviously won’t reveal. She sounded distressed and requested we come immediately.