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Antiques Roadshow expert’s ‘heart jumped’ valuing enormous sapphire ring ‘Keep it safe’

Antiques Roadshow: Joanna values stunning vintage ring

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The hit BBC valuation show saw gemologist Joanna clearly admiring the piece of jewellery, which the Antiques Roadshow guest had brought in alongside a necklace. They had both belonged to the guest’s mother, but the current owner had no idea of the ring’s impressive value. Joanna admitted her heart had “jumped” when she first saw the jewellery item, and after revealing the collection was worth up to £10,000, the guest said she would be sure to keep it safe.

“When you came to my table I think you thought that you’d show me these very quickly and you’d be off for lunch,” Joanna stated.

“Yes, I did,” the owner of the jewellery admitted. When Joanna asked why, she explained: “Well, they were given to my mother many years ago, and I don’t really know the history of either of them.”

“Who gave them to your mother?” asked the jewellery expert. The guest explained it had been her father who had gifted the items.

“What interests me is that these jewels are so different,” Joanna continued.

The owner described how the ring had been a 25th wedding anniversary present in 1974, and the necklace had been a general gift.

“The ring she didn’t really wear because it was quite a big, heavy ring,” she confessed.

“And I think it was more for occasions and dress and so on and she always thought of it to be honest a little bit uncomfortable because it’s so big – you knock everybody with it!”

Observing the necklace closely, Joanna commented: “We’ve got this one here and the pink stone is topaz and it’s surrounded by cushion-shaped diamonds.

“It’s in silver and gold and it didn’t start off like this. It was actually a pair of earrings. Nevertheless, it is stunning and it’s beautiful.”

Turning to the ring, Joanna excitedly explained: “My eye suddenly went on this one. When I opened the box, my heart jumped, because this is – as we see in the lining of the box – it’s a John Donald.”

She continued: “Now he was such an important person in the 60s.

“After the Second World War and the austerity years, jewellery design was pretty grim.

“There was nothing innovative and John Donald was one of the first pioneering designers of Goldsmiths, and he revolutionised jewellery and jewellery design.”

She then instructed the owner of the ring to observe it closely.

“I just want to hear what you think when you actually look at it,” she commented.

“I think it’s lovely,” the guest said. “I think it’s like teardrops around a central pond almost – or raindrops. I love the blue, it’s such a deep blue.”

“Well, that’s a sapphire,” Joanna replied. “And you can see here all the intricate work that goes around the sides, so it was very much a 3D sculpture.”

Finally coming to the valuations, the expert explained: “The topaz and diamond is English, mid-Victorian, I’d say.

“At auction, you’d be looking at around £3,000. And this ring here which I really love – at auction that’d be between five to £7,000.”

“Right,” the guest said, stunned. “I’ll keep that safe! Wow.”

Joanna added: “You’re the custodian of a jewel that really changed the history of modern contemporary jewellery in the UK.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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