A fabulous Burmese ruby jewelry collection originally valued at $257,000 during a 1998 episode of “Antiques Roadshow” recently earned a return visit from the popular PBS show and an updated appraisal — with surprising results. The three pieces, which included a diamond-and-ruby ring, bracelet and pendant, are now worth $400,000 to $450,000.
Now in its 17th season, “Antiques Roadshow” travels to various cities to connect professional appraisers with ordinary people curious to learn what their family heirlooms or yard-sale bargains may be worth. Sometimes the so-called “treasures” are exposed as fakes and other times they’re worth a fortune.
During the revisited 1998 episode, veteran appraiser Berj Zavian told a stunned woman in Richmond, Va., that the jewelry she inherited from her great aunt — the wife of a congressman who liked to lavish her with jewels — was worth more than a quarter millions dollars.
Zavian explained that two of the pieces were from the Art Deco period (circa 1925) and one was dated to the 19th century. They each featured fine-quality Burmese rubies set in platinum. The dual diamond-and-ruby pendant was worth $12,000 and the diamond-and-ruby ring was worth $80,000, but the real showstopper was the diamond-and-ruby bracelet.
Highlighted by a rare 3.5-carat Burmese ruby, the bracelet was adorned by 30 smaller rubies, 70 baguette diamonds and 144 round diamonds. The diamond carat weight totaled 15 carats.
“Wait, you haven't heard anything yet,” Zavian said to build some suspense. “Now, your rubies in here are magnificent. Your bracelet is worth $165,000.”
“I never thought it would be that much,” said the stunned guest.
“The three pieces together in today's market are worth somewhere about $257,000,” said Zavian.
“Wow,” she said.
At the conclusion of the segment a bold graphic summarized the value of the ruby collection — $257,000. But, then a second graphic added for last week’s "vintage" episode swooped into the frame with the updated value of $400,000 to $450,000.
The dramatic change in value over 15 years illustrates the importance of keeping jewelry appraisals up to date. For instance, if the jewelry featured on “Antiques Roadshow” had been lost or stolen before the new appraisal, the owner may have been woefully underinsured.
An updated appraisal is also indispensable when trying to ascertain the value of one’s jewelry for estate purposes, divorce settlements, private sales and loans. Experts advise that appraisals should be updated every two to three years.