Precious jewels with a pedigree from the estate of reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark — which have been concealed from public view for the past 70 years — are set to hit the auction block in Manhattan April 17.
“It was like chasing a rainbow,” Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s New York, said on Tuesday’s Today show when asked about opening Clark’s bank vault, which had been sealed since the 1940s.
Every piece of jewelry — 17 in all — found inside the safe deposit box was still in its original packaging. Among the items: a rare pink cushion-cut 9-carat diamond ring estimated to be worth between $6 and $8 million (below), expected to fetch even more because of Clark’s celebrity.
The mysterious heiress, with homes scattered around the country, withdrew from society before she was 30, spent the remaining decades of her life in a hospital room and died last May at 104.
Also for sale at Christie’s will be her American-flag brooch, consisting of diamonds, sapphires and rubies; a Tiffany bracelet; a 1925 art-deco emerald and diamond bracelet; and an art-deco picture frame, also from Cartier, that holds a photo of Clark’s sister, who died young.
(In addition to her jewels, Clark’s Fifth Avenue apartment is also for sale. That is priced at $55 million.)
Three months ago, Christie’s New York set records when 80 pieces from the Elizabeth Taylor jewelry collection went on sale, raising nearly $116 million for AIDS research.
–Stephen M. Silverman