Annenberg Diamond sells for $7.7 million
NEW YORK, October 25, 2009 — The Annenberg Diamond, a spectacular D colour, flawless diamond of 32.01 carats, sold to an anonymous buyer at auction in New York for $7.7 million, representing a world record price of $240,000 per carat for a colourless diamond, Christie’s auction house said.
The diamond, boasting the provenance of the Annenberg name, comfortably exceeded its valuation of between $3-5 million at the auction on October 21.
The Annenberg Diamond was among the most highly-anticipated jewels offered at auction in the Fall (autumn) season.
It is a square emerald-cut D colour, flawless diamond of 32.01 carats mounted as a ring and flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 1.50 and 1.61 carats.
The ring was designed by renowned Manhattan jeweller David Webb.
“For three and a half hours, between 10am and 1:30pm on October 21 at Christie’s, it was as if the recession never happened,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry at Christie’s New York.
“Virtually every lot exceeded its estimate and the $7.7 million Annenberg Diamond astonished even the most seasoned diamond dealer. It was an auction to remember.”
François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe and International Head of Jewels, said, “The Annenberg Diamond of 32.01 carats combines the best of the 4 C’s: top colour, perfect clarity, ideal cut, and excellent weight. And if you add to this the impeccable provenance of the Annenberg name, you have one of the finest gems to appear on the market for many years.”
Jewels from renowned private collectors are often among the most sought-after on the market.
Christie’s has been entrusted with the sale of some of the most notable major jewellery collections in recent years, including those of HRH The Princess Margaret, Christina Onassis, Doris Duke, and actress Ellen Barkin, and has offered countless jewels with important provenance, including The Royal Baroda Pearls, the historic 17th century grey-blue Wittelsbach Diamond, and now The Annenberg Diamond.
Beyond the sheer beauty and rarity of this diamond, its important provenance and illustrious history as part of the Annenberg collection make this diamond especially prized.
The Annenberg Diamond belonged to the late Leonore “Lee” Annenberg, a passionate art collector and philanthropist who, along with her husband, The Honorable Walter H. Annenberg, entrusted billions of dollars to institutions devoted to education and the arts.
Mrs. Annenberg was the former U.S. chief of protocol during the Reagan administration, and served as chairwoman and president of the Annenberg Foundation.
The late Ambassador Annenberg was a prominent newspaper publisher, broadcaster, diplomat and philanthropist.
He was a champion of public television and acquired many awards during his professional career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan and the Linus Pauling Medal for Humanitarianism.
Under President Richard Nixon, he was appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James and was later made an honorary knight of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).
Over the years, the Annenberg Foundation has donated an estimated $4.2 billion to cultural, educational, and medical institutions.
During their marriage, Ambassador Annenberg established the Annenberg Schools of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California, and gave generously to a number of schools, libraries, theatres, hospitals, and museums across the United States.
In 1993, the Foundation donated $500 million to public education through the Annenberg Challenge for School Reform, one of the largest gifts in philanthropic history.
In 2002, upon the death of Ambassador Annenberg, the couple’s collection of French Impressionist art – valued at approximately $1 billion – was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where both Mr. and Mrs. Annenberg served as trustees.