What’s It Worth? A Pendant With A Wonderful Story To Tell

Similar in design to the “lover’s eye” pendants that were popular in Victorian times, this unusual and historical pendant was sent to us by a Kansas City jeweler last month. He was selling it for a woman in her 50s who had inherited it from her maternal grandmother, who was born in the U.K.

We love old-cut, old-miner, European-cut and so-called circular brilliant-cut diamonds, since they were cut for “whiteness” (color) instead of for brilliance or scintillation, like a modern round brilliant cut is. Most engagement rings we sell are round brilliant. But a significant amount of people, especially millennials, ask for older cuts.

We paid $17,000 for this pendant from the Kansas City jeweler for other reasons than just its cool cushiony old-miner look. It was especially white (“J” color, GIA later said, and VS clarity), but the inscription appealed to me as well. The name J. A. Nutt and the date clue of 1859, led us to believe this was a wedding gift for the sister of Major Justinian Armitage Nutt – one of over a dozen members of the Nutt family stationed in Bombay and Bengal during the British Raj era. The diamond is of a type that was found in India at the time, and Mr. Nutt was indeed stationed there during the year engraved on the piece (as was his father, pictured). His sister was married that very year and her husband was stationed in Bengal in 1858 and 1859.

Most jewelers would destroy this piece and use the parts – the big 3.07 carat center stone for a ring, and the smaller diamonds for earrings – but we are historically oriented and will try to profit from the “romance” of this pendant rather than the sum of its parts.

If you would like to see this wonderful piece in one of our stores, call us and make an appointment. We would love to show it off.

Three former Sothebys.com associates and two art historians on staff. Call or email us if you want to deal with Tampa Bay’s leading auctioneer. We have sold the contents of a museum and a large art collection for USF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Always buying complete estates – or one item.

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