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deborah

Identifying a ring

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Hi - I am new to this forum. I am trying to get some documentation (of any sort) of a valuable ring my grandparents bought at the House of Jewels at the 1939 World's Fair. We have the ring, just no documentation or photos of it on display (I am assuming it was on display). I think it was by Cartier, or possibly Tiffany, but I'm not sure. A photo of it on display, a list of jewels displayed... something like that would help document its history.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Deborah

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Welcome to PTU Deborah! How did you find this place anyway? (we're always curious to know what road map got you here).

As for your ring, there are some folks here who can probably tell us more about the House of Jewels. Maybe even a picture or two. Although a photo of the exact ring (or one exactly like it) would seem a stretch.....

Say, why don't you post a photo of your ring right here? We'd like to see it!

Also, we like to hear any stories that got passed down in your family, as to how that ring got purchased- what the day was like etc.

Did your grandfather propose on that day (I can just picture it, down on one knee in front of the Perisphere, or maybe while 'weightless' on the parachute jump. "Will you marry me?" And the answer" EIOOOOOOOaaaahhhHHHooooWWWWWWWWW~! as they dropped a couple of hundred feet. Then they cemented the deal by buying a ring at the House of Jewels.

If your story isn't that fanciful, that's okay- tell it to us anyway!

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A brochure made up of a single folded sheet exists.

I suspect it includes a general explanation of the exhibit (which showed the process of how raw diamonds are turned into jewelry), but one page wouldn't have any kind of list of individual pieces.

003wf705.jpg

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Hello,

I saw your post. I had only time for the briefest of looks in my 1939 and 1940 Guidebook, but I can't report they actually say anything about items for sale. Of course this doesn't mean they didn't, but you are looking to prove they did, and hopefully what and by whom. There are very few jewelers I would trust to examine this ring out of my sight if it is of great value. Anyway, the by whom would be one of the following, which I would call and write re your search:

Tiffany & Co.

Cartier, Inc.

Black, Starr & Frost-Gorham (silversmiths)

Marcus & Co. (Exotic materials and jewels often in moderne settings; emeralds, pearls, rubies, opals, moonstone, ctrine, in several metals. My guess. See below)

Udall & Ballou

or

De Beers Consolidated Minesand Asssociated Companies Diamond Corp., LTD.

Abt. Marcus & Co.

"Marcus and Company was one of five jewelers to exhibit in the fair's House of Jewels, (35) for which Okie created a different display each month. (36) Whereas the other contributors showed their jewelry on traditional mounts, for Marcus and Company's initial presentation Okie fashioned a garden with an open basket revealing an assortment of enameled pansies and other gem-set flowers, with a pair of garden gloves and tools nearby. Floral brooches filled two small glass urns, and floral jewels adorned steps leading up to a column of flowers and foliage on the opposite side. (37) The brooches were made for Marcus and Company by the manufacturing jeweler Oscar Heyman and Brothers of New York City. A writer in Gems and Gemology described another Okie display at the fair in which the window was blackened, leaving three portholes through which to view vignettes representing moonlight, starlight, and daylight, which featured jewelry set with moonstones, star sapphires, and opals. (38)

In 1939 Vogue magazine asked nine American industrial designers to create a dress for the "woman of the future," to be shown at the World's Fair Terrace Club party. (39) The project, "Fashions of the Future," stipulated that each designer create an entire ensemble including the dress, coiffure, and accessories. Marcus and Company collaborated with Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972), designing a pair of wide gold bracelets and a matching ring made out of a series of metal tubes with rubies and sapphires at the ends, which complemented the gold spiral braids on the skirt and bodice of the dress Dreyfuss conceived. The whereabouts of these jewels are unknown."

From: [url:1vcljffo]http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-169026140.html[/url:1vcljffo]

Hope this is a start,

Eric

PS - you might find a 1939/40 postcard which shows a display or mentioned items for sale and/or by whom.

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Hi Again,

there is a little more data and something to at least look at here:

[url:871i7h9f]http://shop.1asecure.com/webpage.cfm?PageID=781&StID=3355[/url:871i7h9f]

And there are at least two articles in the NYT which you can read online for $4.95 or whatever they charge - one I believe mentiones a "preview". In all this there is little talk of gold actually - it would seem platinum, white gold or silver...or maybe some strange melding ala Marcus would be most likely.

Best,

Eric

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I did find one article on-line that indicates the jewely on exhibit at the House of Jewels was priced.

The point they were making was that a single-strand of pearls at the House of Jewels was priced many times higher than the diamonds that were shown (well your AVERAGE diamonds anyway- each of the four companies also showed a rare 'show' diamond of huge size, such as the 'Tiffany Yellow').

Since WWII, pearls are much more common and now you can get them at a fraction of the price that diamonds cost.

"a Tiffany single-strand pearl necklace on display was priced at $600,000 (about $6 million today); the Tiffany Diamond was worth only $200,000."

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Wow - many replies already. I'm still trying to figure out how this forum works but I finally searched for my post and found all your answers. And I work in IT... I have no excuse.

I appreciate all the links - I had found these already but there are undoubtedly more that I have not found yet. I did write to Cartier online this morning just to see what (if anything) they said. I looked hard at that film footage but didn't see this ring. It's pretty fuzzy and small, though (the footage).

The story isn't quite as romantic as all that. My grandparents bought the ring as an investment. They saw it when they visited the fair with my mother who was a teenager at the time. My grandmother wasn't particularly into wearing expensive jewelry and I don't know if she ever wore it or just kept it locked up. My mother wore it a couple of times. My parents tried to sell it in New York a couple of times, but didn't get offered what they felt it was worth. My mother died, and my father would like to try selling it again. I figured that documentation would increase its value tremendously. I'd like to have it as a keepsake but it's large and almost unwearable because of its physical size I do have photos but am reluctant to post them on a forum that is not locked down. I should add that in no way is this a $1 million ring or anything like that. Still, it's expensive enough to be worth some research.

This is not in the class of the Tiffany Yellow! I suspect that the Tiffany single-strand pearl necklace was "natural" pearls, not cultured pearls, and BIG ones. They were and are very rare, especially in a matched set.

I found Bill Cotter's website and wrote to him - that's how I found this group.

So there you have it!

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I could lock the topic, but I think that means that no further replies could be posted, which kind of defeats the purpose. Unfortunately this software doesn't seem to provide us a means to block anonymous visitors (those who haven't registered) from seeing it. They have to register to post a reply, but aren't prevented from reading and viewing.

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Unfortunately this software doesn't seem to provide us a means to block anonymous visitors (those who haven't registered) from seeing it. They have to register to post a reply, but aren't prevented from reading and viewing.

Yes, I understand. I just can't really post a photo in this case Sorry!

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You could post a picture of three rings, and only tell registered PTU members by P.M. if they ask by P.M. which of the three is the World's Fair ring.

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Hi and welcome to PTU Deborah!

Of course I am curious about this ring, but I also totally respect Deborah's anxiousness. So either way I'm satisfied to read the info w/o a photo if thats what makes her comfortable. I am a member of another "phpBB" and the posts there are readable ONLY by registered users. There is a "home page" with info about the board and also a FAQ which explains the requirements for registration to people who have stumbled in, ie: using part of your real name and location so that people feel they "know" who they are sharing with. "deborah" would be fine, "deborah from philly" would be even better. The problem I see for PTU is that most people who find this forum, start to read the posts, have an explosion of memories, familiarities and questions; and eventually jump on to engage in the fun. AND often bring to the board a totally new and interesting take on the fairs. Just look at this thread!! I think in all fairness it's not right to ask her to post something at this point if she is not comfortable, and its not fair to change the whole infrastructure of the board to accomodate our incredible curiousity. But it CAN be done on a "phpBB" just for the record.

Deborah, I hope you find the information you are looking for. And if you decide as you get more comfortable here that you feel like sharing more info and perhaps a picture that would be great too!!

/Nancy

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Hi All,

I guess I am the only one who thinks that a photo of the ring is not really necessary at this point? It would be like grading a Pr 1880 Seated 10c from a scan...is it a Pr 62...or a Pr 64? I think more of what Deborah (hi Deborah ) is looking for can be found with research and inquiry. Just my 2 cents. Ok, my 10 cents.

Best,

MB

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I'm just curious whether it is a diamond or a ruby or a sapphire? Or a "combo" ring with multiples. I assume it's not a varie-vue or a cracker jack, although I like those too! It could be a Buck Rogers secret decoder ring, I suppose. Heck, an original one of those might be worth as much as a diamond ring!

It's interesting coming out of the Great Depression that people would view an 'amazing jewelry' display like the House of Jewels and think investment opportunity.

I guess maybe the thinking was something hard that you could bite on, was safer than a bank. By 1939 were accounts already insured by FDIC? That was one of the Roosevelt things wasn't it?

I'd be curious now whether the average appreciation rate over the last 70 years for fine gems has exceeded other commodities or precious metals.

I wonder if the prices at the House of Jewels were exceptionally good buys, or simply 'going rate' the same as you'd find at the Tiffany shop in Manhattan?

P.S.- The wife (who is back now) said she and a co-worker from Chicago decided to check out the Tiffany shop in Manhattan earlier this past week, just to say they'd 'been there'.

My son asked, what did you buy?, and my wife just laughed. I asked her if she saw the 'Tiffany Yellow' diamond, but she said she just looked in a couple of display cases and didn't really 'case the joint'.

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Sorry, it's not that I don't trust you but rather that once something is posted it can go anywhere. It would be possible to have my home ransacked, for example. I'm not ovarly paranoid, but I am cautious... not so much about this group but about others who might see this. I've been a listowner on many lists for 12 years, very involved in internet stuff. I am careful. I've seen problems and heard about more. Basically I go on the assumption that anything I post is traceable to me if someone works hard enough at it.

It's not a Buck Rogers secret decoder ring though! Let's just say it's worth selling and worth researching. Which is why I am here...

Deborah is my real name. I'm just not planning to post this photo on the internet on an open board like this one.

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I've been thinking about paper trails-

the suggestions about the jewelers who were at the World's Fair is probably the best one. If they kept 'sales cards' or any records from the world's fair, it might include your grandad's name and address. It's a shot in the dark, and the likelihood that they would have records 'on hand' from 1939 or 1940 is pretty miniscule. Probably buried in a records warehouse somewhere, and as likely as not to have gotten shredded sometime in the last 70 years.

Here's one other idea- do you think your granddad might have ever taken out insurance on it? There might be some insurance records. And sometimes insurance companies like to have a photo of what it is they're insuring, and an appraisal. It would be interesting for you to see what it might have appraised for, in say- 1957.

I assume it was probably kept in a bank safety deposit box. There are always the dated rent cards that the bank keeps on file, but they almost never list any of the contents in the box, so that won't establish anything as far as provenance.

Any chance that your grandparents' cancelled checks from 1939 might still be in an attic or something? As unlikely as that sounds, it would be cool to find one made out to one of those jewelers in 1939, with a notation that said something about World's Fair and ring.

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Hi Deborah,

as you have read - I am in agreement with you.

Now, if you had something that I COULD identify and help you sell such as color slides from 1939 that needed specific identification which could be accomplished in my case with miniscule scans and a bit of color I'd go for the scans. But I don't see what looking at the ring is going to really accomplish at this point. Even if it were shaped liked the Trylon and Perisphere it would not help your cause until it was established such a ring was made and/or sold at the House of Jewels.

Perhaps you've done so, but I'd start with contacting each jewelry house I mentioned, describe your plight and the ring and see what they can suggest. SOMEONE out there will know the answer surely as this is a VERY small world - you just don't want to sell to him or her without knowing it!

Best,

Eric

Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.................

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By the way - how did this get on the 1964 "Collecting the Fair" thread? Since it was a 1939 World's Fair thread that I originally posted to? Just curious. D

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Cartier wants $1200 to research it and provide certification if it's authentic, and $500 to research it if it turns out it's not from them We are pondering that one!

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Cartier wants $1200 to research it and provide certification if it's authentic, and $500 to research it if it turns out it's not from them We are pondering that one!

I don't charge nearly that much - I'm in the 'discount' branch of the family.....

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Oh gee, what incredible deals you are offering... I am touched. Not so touched that I'll pay you, of course...

I just thought it was interesting what they charged to research it. The ring would probably go for a great deal more money if it was authenticated as being from Cartier.

Moral of this story - make sure you have all the facts before your parent dies, when that parent is the only person who knows those particular facts

My father doesn't think it's Cartier but I think my mother (now deceased) said Cartier. None of the other names of jewelers sound right to me. It has been a while since I heard the story, though.

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I've been thinking about paper trails-

the suggestions about the jewelers who were at the World's Fair is probably the best one. If they kept 'sales cards' or any records from the world's fair, it might include your grandad's name and address. It's a shot in the dark, and the likelihood that they would have records 'on hand' from 1939 or 1940 is pretty miniscule. Probably buried in a records warehouse somewhere, and as likely as not to have gotten shredded sometime in the last 70 years.

Here's one other idea- do you think your granddad might have ever taken out insurance on it? There might be some insurance records. And sometimes insurance companies like to have a photo of what it is they're insuring, and an appraisal. It would be interesting for you to see what it might have appraised for, in say- 1957.

I assume it was probably kept in a bank safety deposit box. There are always the dated rent cards that the bank keeps on file, but they almost never list any of the contents in the box, so that won't establish anything as far as provenance.

Any chance that your grandparents' cancelled checks from 1939 might still be in an attic or something? As unlikely as that sounds, it would be cool to find one made out to one of those jewelers in 1939, with a notation that said something about World's Fair and ring.

Unfortunately, my grandmother died in 1959 and grandfather in 1975. There is no attic to search, nothing like that. No way to research insurance.

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