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My grandmother’s jewelry doesn’t look much in this setting. At Hofer Antikschmuck in Berlin-Kreuzberg, gold-framed oil paintings hang on the wall, and in a display case a tiara from Alfred Nobel’s family sparkles on midnight blue velvet. I brought three brooches and two rings from my late grandmother with me and want to show them to Simon Hofer, one of the most famous antique jewelry dealers in the country. I know next to nothing about these pieces of jewelry: whether they were gifts from my grandfather, what meaning they had for my grandmother, what era they come from and what they are worth. Maybe Hofer can tell me more about the family heirlooms – and therefore also about my grandmother.

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