Lineage, Provenance, Maker Marks, & Macchiarini
March 18, 2014
Recently I discovered this brooch on an online site selling 20th-century jewelry. I recognized it immediately as mid-20th-century modernist jewelry by Peter Macchiarini, a San Francisco legend.
It was described as, "Important Peter Macchiarini studio brooch of sterling silver, brass, ebony and bone inlay. The brooch is quite large and measures 3" by 4". "
In the photo below you can see it was signed "Macc" on the back.
The description says: "In excellent vintage condition. Price is $3,450"
To complicate this story, below is a pair of earrings I purchased at an antique/flea market. There is a remarkable similarity to the Macchiarini brooch. The white dots of bone or ivory go all the way through the black of the ebony(?) to the other side. The earrings are marked Sterling. Notice the similarity in construction to the Macchiarini brooch with the sterling wire extending beyond the circle. Definitely, "in the style of Peter Macchiarini." The price?
I paid 50 cents because the lady selling the earrings thought that no one would want to wear these earrings.
The Macchiarini Studio still exists in San Francisco only a few doors down from the original location. It is run by Daniel Macchiarini (son of Peter Macchiarini and grand-daughter of Peter Macchiarini.)
Until his father's passing Daniel worked closely with his father . . . and there is renewed interest in his father's work. A third example is shown below:
Sterling, ebony, ivory and brass dot ring by Peter Macchiarini; created in the 1990s in collaboration with Daniel Macchiarini; top is approximately 7/8" x 5"; ring is about size 10-1/2; marked: "MACC;" fine condition. On M.Schon $1,450
What determines the price of each item?
Why is it so hard to find Peter Macchiarini jewelry in the secondary market as compared to other 20th century modernists?
How does the identity of the maker affect value and price? What are the factors that cause similar appearing works to be valued from $0.50 to $3,000.
EXTRA: Daniel Macchiarini sent me additional information about the "Dot" series. If you are interested please contact me, and I will send you this background information.