Antiques Roadshow host Fiona Bruce and her team of experts were on the grounds of Belmont House in a recent episode of the BBC series. A telegram announcing the end of World War II and a painting signed by David Hockney were just some of the treasures found throughout the day. However, it was expert John Benjamin who left one guest speechless when he revealed the value of a brooch she purchased from a market in Whitstable.
Sitting down with the guest, John began: “The first thing I’d like to do is to compliment you on the condition of your brooch.
“Because when you think it was made around about the Georgian era it looks to me as if it has almost come off the workshop bench today. How have you kept it so well?”
She explained: “Well it was always in good condition and I just very gently cleaned it when I first got it and looked after it.”
Intrigued to know more about the brooch, John asked: “How long have you had it?”
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Going into how it came to be in her life, the guest revealed: “Since the early 70s. I found it in a second-hand store in Whitstable market amongst quite a collection of costume jewellery.
“The moment I saw it I thought that is special, that is not like the other brooches it was sitting amongst and so I bought it.”
Taking a closer look at the item and getting into the history of the stones, John said: “So it caught your eye.
“It is quite a complex design with all this intricate gold work around the central pink stone and then these four green stones forming almost in a south-east west pattern. Do you know what the green stones are?”
The guest replied: “Well I have always assumed they were emeralds.”
John continued: “They are and they are a lovely dark green colour. The cannetille work is what really appeals to me, a very fine and fussy scrolling.
“This word cannetille describes very fine gold-spun filigree, where you get these twisty wirework decorations and it is really complicated, and usually when I see a piece of jewellery, whatever it is a brooch or a pendant with cannetille, it’s damaged.
“This isn’t damaged. It’s in extremely good condition. Let’s talk a bit about the pink stone in the middle because there is no doubt about it that pink stone has got the most wonderful depths.
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“I have a word for it, a saturation of candyfloss pink colour. Now, I don’t know whether you know this but this is a Georgian pink topaz, and pink topaz in recent years in particular have shot up in value.
“They are a very desirable gem indeed, so, in the 70s, it wouldn’t have been regarded in quite the same amount of excitement as they are today.
“I think it weighs eight or ten carats, and that’s a big stone for a pink topaz, you bought it on the market stall in Whitstable, and it cost?”
The guest simply replied: “£1,” which left the crowd around them to gasp and John sat in shock at the price.
He quipped: “Right… ok, so it cost a pound. So what do I think your £1 investment in the early 70s might be worth today?
“A lovely looking pink topaz, super looking emeralds around the outside, cannetille gold frame. £2,500.”
The guest laughed at the staggering amount and expressed: “Thank you very much.”
Praising her keen eye, John added: “No well done you, for having the eye to be shopping in Whitstable and seeing something like that, it was meant to be. What a treat!”
Before leaving, the guest teased: “Well it was at the time and it still is. thank you so much for telling me. Sorry everybody Whitstable market doesn’t exist any longer.”
Antiques Roadshow airs Sunday from 8pm on BBC One.
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