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Your Hamilton, if not your Cartier
- Free valuation of heirlooms by Bowrings at the Grand over the weekend

Bowrings Fine Art Auctioneers are all geared up for their first interaction with the public on Friday and Saturday, when people are welcome to bring out their family jewels and other heirlooms, perhaps stashed away in the attic, for valuation by their panel of experts. The first of them, Jay Dave, arrived on Tuesday.

Martin Graham, managing director of the company, says he has already seen a classic art deco diamond bracelet by Cartier belonging to an old Calcutta family, a collection of ornamental boxes by Asprey of London and some antique jewellery as well. He did not divulge the details.

The valuation will be done at the Oberoi Grand between 10 am and 6 pm, and a separate room has been assigned for jewellery valuation. Special pieces can be valued by appointment. Martin Graham says people are invited to drop by with their valuables for “professional, independent, impartial advice”, all for nothing, and with confidentiality guaranteed.

He says people, who have so long bought their ornaments from the family jeweller, can get their stuff authenticated because in many cases, one cannot be sure of even the “caratage” of gold used to make their jewellery. For a fee, Bowrings will give a written valuation. They will waive it if the piece is sold through them. The company is creating an image database of all the valuables.

Jay Dave, the young Bowrings’ consultant in jewellery, silver and vertu, has so long been in the service of some leading antique dealers in London. From now on, he will be based in Delhi. He says he expects to see plenty of European jewellery from 1910-40, when people travelled a lot. Asked if names like Hamilton & Co and Cooke & Kelvey mean anything internationally, he admits that they don’t in spite of their fine workmanship and their upmarket image in pre-Independence Calcutta.

Bowrings, who claim they are the first professionally-run auction house in India, are very keen on starting a separate jewellery section because the logistics are far easier, says Graham.

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