The PBS Antiques Roadshow Part 2: Behind the Curtain

Last week I posted The Antiques Roadshow Part 1: We’re Off to See the Appraisers! . . . Please click here if you wish to read or reread it before proceeding to Part 2.

Pay Attention to That Crowd Behind the Curtain:

As the volunteer escorted my group of 10 people through the curtain opening, I saw rectangular folding tables in a wide octagon shaped arrangement and a central blue carpeted area with a table, 2 chairs, and a large camera for filming. Huge signs matching the category tickets (jewelry, watches, etc.) hung on the curtains behind the tables. Several appraisers sat at each table with their backs to the curtains and their name cards along the front edge of their section.

While I waited for my turn with a jewelry appraiser, I noticed that no one was being filmed, my friend Linda wasn’t at the watch table, and that most of the appraisals were much faster than the televised ones. (TIPS: Since time and table space are limited, make sure you have your tickets, items, pen, paper, research information, and questions organized and ready for the appraisers.)

The Wonderful Appraiser of AR*:
(*Antiques Roadshow)

The lovely Victoria Bratberg, the Director of Skinner’s Fine Jewelry Department, appraised my 2 collections in a friendly, efficient manner and complimented the pieces. (TIPS: Relax, smile, introduce yourself, and write down the name of your appraisers. You can look them up in the free event guide later.)

Victoria Bratberg ©2014

The Jewelry Appraisals (Alas, No Rubies or Ruby Slippers):

The bracelet collection pictured above spanned a 20-year period of different styles, so I wanted information about the materials and values. My father gave bracelet 1 (left) to my mother after their elopement. Since it was paste 1940’s costume jewelry and didn’t contain any precious metals or gems, Victoria recommended I have the loose ruby-like stones re-glued in the bracelet and enjoy wearing it. The 1960’s hand-carved wooden bracelet 2 (top center) purchased in Austin, Texas was covered with clear shellac to protect the design. Bracelet 3 had an intricate 1950’s Mexican silver inlay from Juarez, but it didn’t have a famous maker’s mark. So far none of the bracelets had much value.

My parents purchased the 1953 Queen Elizabeth II coronation charm bracelet (far right) at royal warranted jewelers Bentley & Skinner in London.  The original sterling silver charm bracelet included 2 miniature books with photos of the Royal Family and London Views, 1 rhinestone embedded coronation chair, 2 coronation crowns (1 plain and 1 enameled), 1 enameled bobby (policeman), and 1 enameled guard. The other charms (2 German shields showing the Rhine River and Neuschwanstein Castle, 1 Dutch windmill, 1 Belgium globe, and 1 map of Ireland) were added during a summer trip to Europe. The bracelet’s appraised value was less than what it’s worth to me.

Victorian jewelry ©2014 Jillian Lark

The mid to late 19th century jewelry (above) belonged to my paternal great-grandparents and lacked makers’ marks. The loop and dangly earrings (bottom row) were made of base metals and had little monetary value. Victoria performed an extra test on my great-grandfather’s tie tack (top right). Unfortunately it wasn’t worth much either, because it contained multi-faceted glass and base metals. The wedding band (top left) was engraved with my paternal great-grandparents’ initials and the year of their marriage. After Victoria tested and weighed the ring, she confirmed it was made of 18-carat gold and assessed its current market price. Again the collection’s value was less than it’s worth to me. (TIPS: Before you leave the table, be certain you have all your items and materials and thank the appraiser, too. The next person in line will move up, and you won’t be allowed to return.)

After the jewelry appraisals, . . . TO BE CONTINUED.

Jillian’s Note: Please return for The PBS Antiques Roadshow Part 3: In Front of the Cameras on Sept. 22nd or click here to follow this blog.



  1. A great series, Jillian! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to next weeks!

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