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Sunday, May 14, 2017

‘Rockefeller Emerald’ Poised To Break Two World Auction Records


It has size, provenance and "exceptional" quality. Now the 18.4-carat “Rockefeller Emerald” is poised to set new world auction records for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat.

The Colombian emerald set on a diamond and platinum ring by famed New York jeweler, Raymond C. Yard, will be the highlight of Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels auction on June 20. The gem, which passed through several members of the Rockefeller family, has a presale estimate of $4 million - $6 million.

It seems fitting that the sale will be held at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters, named after the same family that owned the emerald ring.

The current world record for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat is believed to be held by a 23.46-carat emerald and diamond pendant brooch by Bulgari, formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor. It sold for more than $6.5 million ($280,000 per carat) in December 2011 as part of the landmark auctions of “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” at Christie’s New York.

If the emerald sells for its $6 million high estimate it will easily beat the current per-carat record. If it exceeds its high estimate it would likely surpass the overall record.

The emerald of Colombian origin was purchased in 1930 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the only son among the five children of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller. It was part of a brooch believed to have been created by Van Cleef & Arpels for his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

When Aldrich Rockefeller passed away in 1948, the brooch was disassembled and the 18.4-carat emerald was given to his son, David Rockefeller. The son then asked Yard to mount the gem on a ring.


Yard—the personal jeweler to several Rockefeller family members—created a classic and understated diamond and platinum setting for the gem. The ring is considered to be one of Yard’s most important private commissions, according to Christie’s.

Christie’s says the Colombian emerald is described by the American Gemological Laboratories as “exceptional,” and possesses what AGL calls an “unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors [that contribute] favorably to its rarity and desirability.”

“Due to its rarity, an emerald of this quality and significant weight is not readily found in the market, and it is ranked at the top of its class,” Christie’s added in a statement. “Though it has passed on to other hands, this superb Colombian emerald still embodies the grandeur of the Rockefeller family name.”

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