My partner, Adrian, is an independent jewellery valuer, and when we first got together he offered to value my jewellery for me. It hadn’t been valued in 10 years as I was so afraid of the invoice. No jewellers could quote me on a cost as they based their fees on a percentage of the actual value, which was a mystery until the valuation had been completed. Eh? What’s that all about? How did I know I could afford to pay the bill to get my jewellery back? Not that I had much jewellery, mind you. However, Adrian operated on a per-item fee so I knew how much it would cost me. I’m still waiting on the invoice :-)
Adrian went through my jewellery box and identified the items which were definitely of interest. Amongst other things, he unexpectedly took a little yellow metal gold bar brooch which had 3 white stones in it, and which had been considered “not worth valuing” before – it had belonged to my Dad’s Mum. I had never worn it, I don’t remember Mum ever wearing it after Granny gave it to her, and it just lay in the jewellery box with my “Martha and the Muffins Tour ’80″ badge, my other Granny’s beads and my cheapo stickpins and brooches. Well, it turned out that the yellow metal was gold, the stones were DIAMONDS and it would have cost about £3500 to replace! It could so easily have ended up in the charity shop after a clear-out.
So, should I pay insurance premiums on £3500 for something I would never wear? Hmm, then a thought struck me – there were 3 stones in the brooch and I have two sisters. So I rang The Sisters and said “If someone gave you a solitaire diamond, would you wear it?” and both responses were no-brainers. So we used the stones to have 3 rings made, and now we can all enjoy one of Granny’s diamonds whenever we want. I wear my ring daily – I love amethyst (and it is a Scottish stone, however mine are likely to be Brazilian and heat-treated to improve the colour) and we designed the setting over a Friday Night Bottle of Wine. No claws to hold the diamond, so no nasty scratches on my face or bits of old jumper sticking to it!
We subsequently found the original receipt for the brooch that Granny bought. My grandfather didn’t have a clue about jewellery, so she bought her own. I suspect he would have had a coronary if he had seen that she paid £160 for it second hand in 1953! :-) Note the stamp on the receipt – it was a method of collecting receipt tax as any transaction that required a receipt had to show stamps to the value of tuppence.
So even though my Granny died when I was only 3, I do remember her although she was ill in bed whenever we met (I remember her burgundy satin eiderdown), and I have my diamond to remind me of her. It’s not the best quality diamond, but I love it anyway :-)