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An Heiress’ Jewels on the Auction Block

Jill Newman

Considered one of the last great heiresses of America’s Gilded Age, Huguette M. Clark passed away last year at age 104, leaving an estate reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Along with real estate, artwork, and collectibles was an extraordinary collection of jewelry that had been tucked away in a bank vault since the 1940s. The collection of 17 storied jewels will be for sale at Christie’s New York on April 17. It is expected to fetch between $9 million and $12 million.

Among the exceptional pieces is an extremely rare 9-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond mounted in a Belle Epoque setting by the French jeweler Dreicer & Co., with an estimate of $6 million to $8 million. Another stand-out is a 19.86-carat D color potentially flawless diamond ring by Cartier (estimate: $2 million to $3 million) still in its original box from the 1920s. Nearly every piece is exceptional in quality and provenance, like the Cartier Art Deco diamond bracelet (estimate: $300,000 to $500,000); a diamond and multigem charm bracelet by Cartier, circa 1925 (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000); and a Tiffany & Co. ruby, sapphire, emerald, and gold bracelet circa 1915 (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000).

“In the world of fine jewelry, this is truly a fairy-tale collection,” says Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas. “Opening the vault to find this treasure trove of period jewels from the best French houses of the early 1900s has certainly been one of the most extraordinary moments of my 15-year career here at Christie’s. The iconic Art Deco design and exceptional craftsmanship of these meticulously preserved jewels are emblematic of the great Gilded Age in American history.” (212.636.2300, www.christies.com)

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