Antiques Roadshow guest blown away by true valuation of royal jewels ‘Wow!’
Antiques Roadshow: Value of royal jewells stuns guest
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A hoard of jewels that used to belong to the guest’s relative and had connections with the Russian Royal Family impressed jewellery specialist Geoffrey Munn in a recent episode of the BBC show, who was fascinated by the history of the items. The Antiques Roadshow expert examined the items and the story behind them before settling on a whopping estimate of £13,000 if they were to go to auction. The owner of the heirloom was left stunned to discover what she had been sitting on.
“I understand that you’ve brought me two royal jewels in a carrier bag today,” the jewellery buff stated as he looked at the items placed in front of him.
“Yeah,” the guest replied. “It seemed like the best way to take them here.”
Geoffrey asked the owner to tell him about their history.
She explained: “So, I was doing my family tree during lockdown, and my grandma decided to take these out of the cupboard and show us and give us a little story.”
“Wow, and it’s related to this piece of paper I think?” The expert asked, pointing towards an old letter.
The guest remarked: “Yeah, so the little note’s always been with the brooches, and it says that Grand Duke Mikhailovich gave these to Lady Zia Countess Torby, his descendant, and then she gave them to my great, great aunt.”
Expanding on the relationship the two had shared, she went on: “We were told that she went down to London to work for or with Lady Zia, and we were told that they were very good friends for 35 years.”
“I think probably that this is a very unusual friendship,” the valuation expert said, adding: “And there is a clue in the jewellery that it could have been romantic too.
“Because that amethyst stands for devotion in the language of the stones and diamonds are forever.
“So forever devotion is wrapped up in the meaning of this jewel here.
“And then this beautiful platinum brooch set with diamonds – the finest possible diamonds and real pearls – it has a French control on it, showing that it was made almost certainly in Paris. But this is made in about 1880 and this one 1900.”
He continued: “These are voices from the past and it’s our job to let them speak to us, and I think you’ve done that brilliantly in your research.
“They are very desirable bits of jewellery and it’s dicey, really, because when the connection with Lady Zia is firmed up and the friendship with Mary, I think that would add quite considerably to the value if they were to go to auction.”
Revealing his predictions, he added: “And I’m thinking, under those circumstances, probably the amethyst brooch and diamonds – £5,000.”
“Wow… okay,” the guest responded, looking speechless.
More surprises were to follow though, as Geoffrey replied: “And that’s not the end of it really.
“Because this one may well be made by one of the great firms in Paris – I’m going to go Tiffany but I can’t prove it.
“But why not, because there is precedent for it, so a bit back to front but I’m going to say £7,000 to £8,000 for that.”
“Wow, okay,” repeated the owner. “That’s amazing.”
Geoffrey commented: “In a sense, none of that really matters because they are emblems of a friendship long gone, and I think you’re the perfect candidate to unravel this marvellous romantic story of one royal lady and her devoted friend.”
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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