A selection of fantastic 1970s jewels formerly in the collection of Sammy Davis Jr. stars in the Bonhams California Jewels sale on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
A rare mid-century collection of Art Smith jewelry will also be available alongside beautiful, signed jewelry and gemstones, including an 8.90-carat certified Colombian emerald and diamond ring (estimate: $35,000-55,000).
One of the greatest performers of the 20th-century, singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, and comedian, Sammy Davis Jr. (1925–1990) broke through racial barriers and spent a lifetime in show business. Born in Harlem, New York, to Afro-Cuban vaudeville dancers, Davis was performing by the age of three. After starring as the lead in Mr. Wonderful on Broadway, he met and became fast friends with Frank Sinatra, forming the “Rat Pack,” alongside Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. They performed at night clubs and in films together, including Ocean’s 11 (1960). Davis’s personal style was apparent from the start, and he was rarely seen without a suit and at least one large gold ring, exuding both elegance and flair. In 1967, he became the first black man to be featured on the cover of GQ, wearing a perfectly tailored ensemble and a large gold ring. Five pieces will be available in the sale, including a Fancy Brown Diamond Ring (estimated at $7,000-9,000) that he was frequently photographed wearing while performing.
Head of Jewelry, Bonhams Los Angeles, Emily Waterfall said, “Sammy Davis Jr. was a huge talent and an icon of style. We are thrilled to be offering a selection of jewels that were worn and enjoyed by this groundbreaking entertainer. Bonhams Los Angeles has had great success recently handling jewelry from Hollywood stars; the sale of the Estate of Diahann Carroll in 2020 included a Tiffany Zodiac pendant which sold for four times over its pre-sale estimate.”