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Antiques Roadshow is currently airing unseen valuations from several locations the show visited last summer. During a recent episode, Geoffrey Munn cast his expert eye over two unusual looking jewels, which he then revealed were gifts from Queen Alexandra. Those watching at home saw him probe the owners as to how they came into possession of such items, after they teased a “secret”.
“Two jewels here, two original boxes for them and in the lid, there are suppliers to the royal family,” Geoffrey began.
“This one says Hancock and that one says Collingwood. Both of them have been suppliers to the British royal family for a long time.
“But you tell me what it’s all about. There’s a secret, isn’t there and you know it.”
“These were handed down from our husband’s great-great-aunt who worked for the then Princess Alexandra, who became Queen Alexandra,” one of the guests explained.
“And so you’re sisters-in-law, so there are two brothers, two brooches and two wives,” the expert added.
“What amazing relics that they are because there is a covert language in jewellery, always, and particularly in this period and the message is joyfulness and charm here in pure gold, with coral, and is associated with Venus, the love goddess.
“And so this is the sort of thing that would mark a big occasion in a courtier’s life.
“But the only shortcoming of coral is that it’s now a fiercely protected species.
“But what we see in front of us now, are two jewels that are well over 100 years old and so the legislation doesn’t apply,” Geoffrey said.
He then turned to the second jewel and commented: “This one, is black onyx which has a very conspicuous pearl cross on it and it ticks every single box for memorial jewellery.
“So this is commemorating somebody that had died, and I think if we turn it over, we’ll be able to see the date on which that happened.
“We’re not only going to see the date on which it happened, but a photograph of Queen Alexandra herself within.
“It says, ‘From Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales, July the 7th, 1870.’
“This is an intensely personal gift, but it is a slightly gloomy one,” viewers saw him remark.
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“So let’s have a look at this one with coral in it, and it says ‘From Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales,’ and then underneath it says, ‘To S Perrett, 10th of May, 1867.’ Now S Perrett is your great-great-aunt by marriage?”
“Great-great-aunt Sarah was apparently working at Badminton House, she was a seamstress and while she worked there, Queen Victoria asked her to do some repair work,” the guest unveiled.
“And I think Queen Victoria was so impressed with her needle skills, that she employed her.
“Following on, after years, when Prince Edward was going to marry Princess Alexandra, Great-great-aunt Sarah went to Denmark and came back with Princess Alexandra with all her trousseau, and then became a maid,” she added.
Geoffrey continued: “So these come from the hand of somebody very powerful.”
“I’m thinking she’s actually touched them,” one of the ladies interjected.
“Most definitely, there would have been an audience,” the expert said.
“When you find a piece of jewellery like this, with the maker, with the provenance and the exact history, comes a jolly nice value.
“So there is a possibility of a slight difference in value,” Geoffrey revealed.
“Only because this is a mourning jewel and perhaps not everybody responds to that in the same way. I’ve no hesitation at all in saying that this is £6,000 to £8,000.”
“Wow! That is amazing,” the owners exclaimed.
“And now you’re in for it, because I’m going to say £8,000 to £10,000 [for the coral jewel],” Geoffrey stated.
Antiques Roadshow airs Sunday nights at 8pm on BBC One.
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