Dear John: Twenty-five years ago, my aunt passed away and the necklace in the photo was a gift from her. It has been stored in my jewelry box since then. The other day my niece was here for a visit and we opened the box to find her a treasure. She really liked the necklace and so it now belongs to her. I took some photographs of it before she left to send you in hopes you could tell us something about it and if it has any collector value. Thank you for any information you can provide. — J.P., internet
Dear J.P.: Thank you for the good clear photograph, including the mark on the back of the pendant. The pendant was made in Taxco, Mexico. Taxco is recognized worldwide for its fine quality silver jewelry that was produced there in the mid-20th-century. Taxco jewelry has become a specific category of collector interest and continues to grow. The impressed number 980 is the silver content; sterling silver is 925. It is claimed that 980 silver has the advantage of not oxidizing as quickly as sterling 925/1000. It is also claimed that it will not stain a woman’s skin.
The jewel in the center of the pendant is a Mexican fire opal. Current potential dollar value of your necklace is just below $100, but likely not for long.
Dear John: I bought this piece of furniture in Lima, Peru a couple of decades ago. Enclosed are some pictures which I hope are clear enough for you to be able to tell me a little about its history and value. The chest is quite lovely with inlaid colored wood. I am not sure if it is European or Peruvian. Any information will be appreciated. — L.M., internet
Dear L.M.: The swelling or convex sides and fronts of your chest are referred to as bombé. Bombé chests were produced in the mid-1700s in France and late 1700s in Germany and Italy.
The photographs were not very good; I think the bombé chest you have is a not-very-old reproduction of the earlier bombé style. If you like, send good photographs of the chest. Pull out a drawer and photograph the side and underside. Then I will be sure of my opinion.
Dear John: My sister and I have been reading your column on antiques and collectibles for several years. We enjoy your straightforward answers on things people own. After cleaning out an old box full of stuff that has been in the closet far too long, I found this item at the bottom. I hope the photos are clear enough for you to tell us what it is and what it was used for.
How old do you think it is, and if you know what it is, does it have any collector interest? It measures 5 1/4 inches high and 4 1/2 inches wide. Thank you. — S.D., internet
Dear S.D.: Thank you for the kind words. You have an ornate light switch cover. I think it was made in America circa 1920s to the 1930s. The photograph is clear; the eagle that appears at the top is well done. It does not look like there are any maker’s names, etc., on the front.
I will assume you have examined the backside and found nothing. I suspect it is silver plated and could have been made by the Gorham Silver Company, as they produced decorative household items. It would look really nice if it was polished. Potential dollar value is below $50.
John Sikorski has been a professional in the antiques business for 30 years. He hosts a call-in radio show, Sikorski’s Attic, on WJUF (90.1 FM) Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. Send questions to Sikorski’s Attic, P.O. Box 2513, Ocala, FL 34478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.