How does someone find the most exquisite jewelry collection of one of the richest women in the world, valued at over 20 million dollars, locked away in a bank vault for 70 years?
There are many deep questions surrounding the half-billion dollar estate, including three incredible mansions and some of the most brilliant diamond jewelry ever auctioned by Christie’s New York. The owner of this fabulous jewelry collection was Huguette Clark, born in Paris, France, youngest daughter of the late Senator William A. Clark of Montana. Senator Clark was once considered the second richest man in America. He made most of his fortune in copper mining and was the original owner of the property now known as Las Vegas, NV.
Huguette Clark lost her sister to meningitis at age 17, married briefly, for two years but had no children. She suffered losses of family members over time, like her father and then her mother, and did not deal well. Huguette Clark was an accomplished artist and philanthropist and created an extensive acreage of Bird Sanctuary near her Santa Barbara Coastal Mansion in her sisters’ honor. Sadly, she became a recluse before the age of 30 years. With each loss she detached herself further from her wealth. Leaving all three of her mansions empty, (the total value estimated at $250 million dollars), she signed herself into the Beth Israel Medical Center, New York. Huguette Clark, one of the richest woman in the world, remained in her hospital room for over twenty years until her best friend and former employee died in February 2011. A few weeks later, on May 24, 2011, Huguette Clark died just two weeks before her 105th birthday.
Two of Mrs. Huguette Clark Gowers’ favorite diamond bracelets, one a diamond and emerald 1925 Deco bracelet by Cartier valued at $70,000, the second a stunning chain-link diamond bracelet estimated value of $500,000. A gift from her mother, an intense pink-colored, cushion-cut diamond ring valued at $8 million dollars auctioned with several other select pieces. She also owned a rectangular cut colorless diamond valued at three million dollars. She was never seen wearing these pieces after 1930.
How does an estate valued at over half a billion dollars end up having no legal heirs, bound by the courts, and millions of dollars worth of jewels auctioned off? It is interesting that Huguette’s original Will named 21 extended family members as heirs, but only weeks later a Will revision completely cut out all relatives and left her fortune to a private charity run by her lawyer and accountant. Her second will stated, “I intentionally make no provision…for any members of my family, having had minimal contact with them over the years.” The U.S. Court system is investigating many aspects of how professionals in her circle handled Huguette Clark and her estate over the years.
A representative from world-famous Sotheby’s, Geneva, quoted as saying, “The demand for rare gems as a portable form of wealth has pushed up prices.” On November 2013, “The Graff Pink” lost it’s world title record for most paid at auction for any gem. The “Top News” back in 2010, a fabulously cut rare “Fancy Intense Pink” diamond, hadn’t been seen since it’s purchase by Harry Winston about 60 years ago. Jewelry dealer, Lawrence Graff of London, purchased the 24.78-carat, emerald-cut pink diamond for $46.2 million dollars. Mr. Graff named his extraordinary diamond “The Graff Pink”.
The new headliner, presented by Sotheby’s of Geneva, at their “Magnificent Jewels Sale” sold a Type IIA exquisite cut 59.60-carat “Pink Star” for $83.4 million dollars. Twice the size of “The Pink Graff”, this fancy vivid pink took Steinmetz Diamonds two years to cut from a 132.5-carat rough and made the historical “per carat record” of $2,155,332. USD.
Simon Itturi Patino, world-famous tycoon, born in Bolivia, began his enterprise in silver mining and tin. He developed mines and metal foundries all over the globe. Patino became one of the five wealthiest men, nicknamed “The Andean Rockefeller”. In 1938 he purchased a gift for his wife. The magnificent diamond and emerald necklace featured the historic “Andean Cross”. The Andean Cross once belonged to Queen Isabel II of Spain and to Empress Eugenie of France. In 1937, Cartier of London selected one hundred carats of the very best emeralds to create a diamond and emerald necklace worthy of the “Andean Cross”. Van Cleef & Arpels later purchased the Andean Cross and shortened the necklace to create a matching pair of earrings valued at $600,000. The Patino Estate offered a cushion-cut, 32.65-carat F colour diamond ring by Chaumet, valued at the same auction at 2.8 million, USD.
Florence Gould, widow of Frank J, Gould, the youngest child of Jay Gould, died at age 87 in Cannes, France. Jay Gould developed Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera. His fortune was from many Railroad Ventures and widely considered illegal activites such as attempting to corner the gold market and causing a national panic in the market. Mrs. Gould died without heirs so the estate went to the Florence J Gould Foundation and the over $100, million dollars worth of jewelry went to auction. Two rings, one set with a rectangular cut sapphire, 65-carats and framed by tiny diamonds, valued at $400,000., the other a 31.35-carat rectangular diamond valued at $700,000. part of the Gould Family Jewelry Collection auction that included custom designs by Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, Cartier, Gerard and Tiffany.
Raymond Lee Jewelers’ Diamond Search
Our “High Quality Diamond Search Page” allows you to search for the exact cut, color, carat weight clarity and price range that you are looking for. The search results show you a list of diamonds within your specifications for you to view and compare. You can take as long as you want online to search and select your favorites. Then just jot down or print out the Stock Number and Price to take with you to see the exact diamonds you selected at our showroom. Better yet, purchase the diamond directly from our secure online store.
Because Raymond Lee Jewelers is an established leader in the sale and purchase of high-end jewelry and luxury watches, we educate people in the best ways to purchase and sell their valuables safely and knowledgeably. The professionals you talk to in the showroom will take the time to help you understand how to get the best deal, whether you are purchasing a jewelry gift or selling a watch that you inherited from your great-great uncle. From our diamond concierge team, to our GIA Graduate gemologist, Richard, our staff is always at your service.
Our master watch-makers are available on-site to promptly repair your broken watch or if you want to sell it “as is” we can help you. Concerned with accuracy and detailed documentation, Raymond Lee Jewelers’ employees protect our clients in every way to insure that your jewelry appraisal is up-to-date and fully secure.