Legendary actress Helen Hayes. Verdura jewelry. Chanel. What happens when these icons of glamour come together in the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW season premiere? According to appraiser Laura Woolley, “probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever done on the ROADSHOW.”
Season 26 of the hit PBS show kicked off last night with an hour of captivating Connecticut treasures at Wadsworth Mansion, culminating in a climactic moment when a guest brought an eye-catching cuff bracelet that was originally gifted to her great-great aunt Helen by her great-great uncle Charlie. The Helen and Charlie in question? EGOT-winning actress Helen Hayes and famous writer Charlie MacArthur. Even better, the cuff was designed by Verdura for Chanel in the 1930s.
Laura Woolley shocked the guest when she revealed that not only was the piece not costume jewelry, as long suspected, but every stone on the extremely rare cuff was real! The sterling silver and ivory-colored enamel bracelet includes a sugarloaf amethyst, cabochon emeralds, aquamarines, sapphires, diamonds and rubies. Taking all these factors into account, Woolley valued the piece for $100,000-$150,000 at auction.
Other standout finds from the premiere episode include a season-favorite guest reaction, stories from the set of “Jaws,” and a personal handwritten letter from Mahatma Gandhi.