Antiques Roadshow: Expert reveals secret about brooch
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During a rerun episode of Antiques Roadshow, jewellery expert John Benjamin spoke to one guest about her Victorian brooch, which she was given to by her aunt. However, John was disappointed to see the Castellani brooch was “worn” and “broken”.
“You have brought along this brooch, and I have to be honest with you, it is distressed,” John began.
“This has broken off,” he explained, as he pointed to part of the brooch. “In the grand scheme of things, I doubt very much I would have given it a second look.
“It is designed as a hoop, and the top of it is sort of designed as a stylised ram’s head.”
John went on to ask the guest where the brooch came from.
“An aunt of mine gave it to me many years ago,” the guest explained as she admitted: “I don’t know where she had it. I kind of thought it was Victorian.”
The expert agreed that the item was Victorian, as he told her: “It is 19th century, made in about 1865.
“It is a good example of what we call, revivalist jewellery.”
“But it is in worse than good condition,” John warned. “It has broken off, it is a bit worn, a bit bent, a bit tired and a bit miserable.”
“Sorry about that, John,” the guest apologised before he went to point out a major feature on the brooch.
“Did you happen to see that there? There are two tiny back-to-back letter c’s.
“Now I am going to tell you something. Those back-to-back c’s are the monogram of someone called Fortunato Pio Castellani.
“One of the great names. 19th century, revivalist goldsmith working in Rome and producing this kind of jewellery.”
“His jewellery is incredibly collectable today,” John explained to the guest.
“So, despite the damage, yes I know it is in less than perfect condition.”
“Get that restoration done,” the expert warned. “You’re talking the best part of £1,000 for it.”
Clearly taken aback, the guest replied: “Really? Oh, goodness.”
“Just because of that Castellani mark,” John pointed out.
The guest explained: “And I lost it some years ago. I put an ad in the local press with a reward.
“And somebody rang, and they had found it.”
“It’s meant to be,” John concluded. “What a find”.
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.
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