Kovel’s Antiques: Unusual jewelry can command unusual prices

Who knew a zipper could be high fashion? At least, it is when it’s made of 18K white gold and 13.50 carats of diamonds! It sold for $18,450 at Morphy Auctions of Denver, Pennsylvania. It is really a necklace, not a zipper, although the pull is functional. It is described as “Cartier-style.”

Cartier jewelry became popular in the mid-20th century with retro modern style. Their famous articulated leopard pin appeared in 1947. The company is still known for its stylish, expensive diamond jewelry.

Jewelers created more experimental designs in the 20th century. Some were sculptural and artistic; some were adventurous and humorous. The playful quality of this necklace, which reimagines an ordinary object, fits the spirit of the time.


Q: My parents received an oval-shaped, 3-inch-long Waterford desk clock in 1990. The clock face is removable and is the size of a watch timepiece. My mom recently gave it to me, along with several other pieces of Waterford that she’s collected over the years. The price tag from Garfinkel’s department store is still on the bottom, and it reads $89. What is it worth today?

A: George and William Penrose established the Waterford Glass House in Waterford City, Ireland, on October 3, 1783. The factory made useful and ornamental flint glass with “as fine a quality as any in Europe.” In 1785, glassmaker John Hill was hired, bringing a technique to polish the glass after cutting, removing the “frosted” appearance. This became one of Waterford’s key signatures. Hundreds of years later, in January 2010, WWRD Group Holdings Limited (owners of Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton) opened a new Waterford Crystal manufacturing facility and retail outlet in Waterford. In July 2015, Fiskars Corporation bought WWRD. Unfortunately, your mother’s Waterford, while gorgeous, is not gaining in value. We saw that exact same mantel clock selling for $34 in a consignment store recently. But you can still enjoy the memories it brings!


Q: After a year of entertaining at home, I suddenly have the desire for more formal and patterned dinnerware. I inherited a Wedgwood set of eight dishes from an elderly aunt. I think the pattern is called Napoleon Ivy. Can you tell me a little about it?

A: Wedgwood is one of the most famous English pottery factories. It was founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, known as the “Father of English Potters.” He was the youngest of 12 children, born in Burslem, Staffordshire, and apprenticed as a potter before setting up his own business. Dinnerware in the Napoleon Ivy pattern has been a favorite since it was first made (for Napoleon Bonaparte) in 1815. Wedgwood retired the pattern in 2003. It has a cream-colored background, and a border of realistic ivy ranging from dark to light shades of green. A set of 15 pieces sold for about $125 at a recent auction. Individual pieces sell online for anywhere from $10 to over $100, depending on the type of dish. You have inherited a great set of dinnerware. Enjoy it.


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