Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked at value of 'worthless' old family brooch - video

15 July 2020, 14:46

By Giorgina Ramazzotti

The woman was stunned and couldn't believe what she was hearing.

An Antiques Roadshow contestant was left completely shell shocked after being told her "worthless" brooch is worth a fortune.

Appearing on the BBC show, the guest told expert John Benjamin that her and her husband had previously been told the brooch was worth nothing and was merely costume jewellery.

The excited expert went on to tell her the brooch was indeed real and could fetch an eye-watering £50,000 at auction.

The women was stunned when expert John Benjamin revealed her brooch's true value
The women was stunned when expert John Benjamin revealed her brooch's true value. Picture: BBC

John began by saying: “Now when we were sitting at the table back there you said to me, ‘I’ve got a brooch that’s always been known as the big blue blob.’

“And sure enough when you see it residing there in this case, it’s a big blue blob.”

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Explaining the item’s history, she said: “I inherited it from my grandmother, who gave it to my father, who gave it to me to wear on my wedding day, which I did.”

“Well the brooch itself was made about the mid to the end of the 19th century so it is about 130, 140 years old,” John continued.

"The style of it is actually quite ordinary. It's a cushion and it’s got a big blue cushion stone surrounded by white stones.

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"Then we move on to the issue which is what actually is the blue stone and you’ve been told by some jewellers to take it away, it’s valueless.

The 25-30 carat sapphire was valued at £40 - £50,000
The 25-30 carat sapphire was valued at £40 - £50,000. Picture: BBC
The guest of the show had worn the brooch on her wedding day
The guest of the show had worn the brooch on her wedding day. Picture: BBC

"It’s costume jewellery, they didn’t believe us," she recalled, adding: "They were quite rude to me and my husband.

"Some people said it was paste, some people said they weren’t real diamonds, some people said they were real diamonds but they weren’t good quality."

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John then went on to say: "So you’ve been told by a number of jewellers that it’s an inconsequential piece of costume jewellery mounted on a piece of blue glass worth nothing.

"So if I were to say whoever these jewellers were they were talking absolute rubbish, would you be happy to hear that?

“This is not a piece of jewellery of no consequence at all it is a piece of significant consequence because the stone in the middle is an absolutely enormous sapphire. Cushion-shaped sapphire.

"Now just take in the size of it because usually if someone has a sapphire ring, it’s a small stone on the finger," he said.

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"But that sapphire, I’ve done an approximation of the weight of it and I think it weighs 25-30 carats. In the world of gemstones that’s quite big actually.

"It comes from Ceylon which is, of course, Sri Lanka today. Ceylon sapphires are typically this very bright cornflower blue colour.

The contestant couldn't believe what she was hearing
The contestant couldn't believe what she was hearing. Picture: BBC

"The white stones - you were told blithely by a jeweller that these were paste. They’re diamonds, mounted up in gold and set in silver and it’s in its original fitted box and it’s an absolute screamer, it really is.

"Now I have to be honest with you, I’ve done this show for so long I’ve never seen a sapphire of this size ever bought onto the Antiques Roadshow, this is a real first time for me.

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"If I were to take such an item of jewellery and consign it to an auction I would expect it to make between £40,000 to £50,000."

The guest was completely shocked and when she regained her composure, eventually said: "Oh my word, I don’t want to swear. Blooming heck!"

John smiled and replied: "Blooming heck indeed, it’s an absolute beauty. What else can I say about it? It's fabulous."