The Annenberg Diamond to lead Christie’s sale
Stunning D colour, flawless diamond of 32.01 carats from the collection of Leonore “Lee” Annenberg is expected to fetch $3-$5 million
New York, July 26, 2009 – Christie’s auction house said The Annenberg Diamond, a spectacular D colour, flawless diamond of 32.01 carats, will be the leading highlight of Jewels: The New York Sale on October 21, 2009.
Valued at between $3-5 million and boasting the provenance of the Annenberg name, this extraordinary diamond will be among the most highly-anticipated jewels offered at auction in the coming Fall (autumn) season.
The Annenberg Diamond 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.
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.”
Prior to the sale of The Annenberg Diamond in October, Christie’s has arranged a preview tour of the diamond to key collecting centres, including Geneva, London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York.
Jewels from renowned private collectors are often among the most sought-after on the market.
Christie’s has been entrusted with the sale 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.
Despite the difficult economic backdrop of recent months, prices for diamonds in each of Christie’s international salerooms indicate a buoyant market backed by solid confidence among collectors.
In the recent April Jewels sale at Christie’s New York, for example, the top lot, a pear-shaped, D colour, internally flawless type IIa diamond of 30.02 carats, sold for $130,000 per carat, a price in line with the peak of the jewels market.
The results achieved in Christie’s May Jewels auction in Hong Kong reaffirmed the unquestionable health and strength of the diamond market, with as much as $111,000 per carat paid for a perfect rectangular-cut diamond of 15.02 carats.
For the second half of 2009, the outlook for extraordinary diamonds remains positive as demand among collectors for rare gems continues to drive strong prices at auction.
For the period from January to June 2009, Christie’s worldwide jewels sales totalled $104 million, with seven of the top ten prices achieved in Christie’s salesrooms worldwide.
Thus far, 16 jewellery lots have surpassed the $1 million price mark. In 2008, Christie’s worldwide jewels sales totalled over $383 million.
Jewels: The New York Sale & The Annenberg Diamond – October 21, 2009
New York – Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries – October 16–20, 2009