Antiques Roadshow guest left ‘terrified’ by staggering valuation of rare opal necklace

Antiques Roadshow: Value of opal diamond necklace stuns guest

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In a recent episode of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, a guest was left lost for words after expert Susan Rumfitt revealed her grandmother’s opal necklace was worth a “terrifying” amount. The guest explained the opal stone had come from Australia to Scotland when they moved home but wasn’t prepared to hear just how sought after it was.

Visiting the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Susan began: “What a gorgeous opal that you’ve brought along today.

“And beautiful picture as well with a gorgeous wedding dress, how are the two connected?”

The guest explained: “Well, this image is of my grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side, my grandfather was from Fife, and my grandmother was Australian, an international tennis player.

“But they actually got married not far from here in Edinburgh, my grandmother was very keen on jewellery, I think, and my grandfather, I believe, bought her this because it’s from Edinburgh.

“I originally thought as she was Australian it might have been given to her by her family her father,” she told Susan.

Spotting a small detail on the box the necklace sat in, Susan remarked: “The reason you think that it was purchased in Edinburgh was because the box is indicating Edinburgh jeweller, but the box isn’t exactly fitting the pendant correctly.”

“That’s interesting,” the guest quipped.

Susan continued: “So I think that your idea that it might have been given to her by her father before she left could well be right.

“But maybe he gave her the opals and they had them made, when they came to Scotland, made into a necklace. That’s always quite possible because obviously, opals do come from Australia.

“They are unbelievable, they are really highly sought after at the moment and particularly this colour of opal which is referred to as a black opal,” she explained.

Susan went on to look at the necklace in more detail, pointing out all the different colours weaving in and out of the stone to the guest.

“Do you like opals?” she asked, to which the guest replied: “I love opals, I mean, I feel a bit nervous about wearing that one.

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“What I love about that on one is that when you turn to the back, the back is as exquisite as the front because it almost looks like a peacock feather,” she said.

Susan agreed: “You’re absolutely right, on the back it is this really very solid dark blue colour, isn’t it, and in this light that we are getting today, it’s just intensified even more.

“It’s absolutely extraordinary, the type of opal, being a black opal, comes from the specific region of the lightning ridge in Australia as well, so it’s great to be able to pinpoint it.

“The market is extraordinary at the moment for opals. There is a shortage out there anyway at this particular time, and the market for Edwardian jewellery is doing extremely well too,” she explained.


“I think that jewellery is becoming much more appreciated, particularly when stones are of a particular quality.

“So, value-wise, at auction, if it were to come up in my opinion in the current market, I would put £20,000 on it,” Susan revealed.

The guest was visibly shocked and lost for words as she told Susan: “Yeah, that’s slightly terrifying.”

Laughing at her shock, Susan joked: “Well, wear it, enjoy it, don’t worry about the value,” before the guest thanked her for her help.

Antiques Roadshow airs Sunday at 8pm on BBC One. 
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