On March 29, 2023, John Moran Auctioneers hosted a luxurious auction titled "Jewelry from the Estate of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree," which captivated the attention of jewelry collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts in Los Angeles, CA and abroad. The auction was held onsite in Los Angles and online at Bidsquare.com. Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree was renowned for her philanthropy and contributions to various nonprofit organizations and causes in the Santa Barbara area, many of which were named after her and her husband. To honor her legacy, John Moran held a preview of the jewelry collection at the Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel in her hometown of Montecito, CA. The auction was a resounding success, exceeding the median pre-sale estimate by one-and-a-half times. The 85 lots featured exquisite pieces of jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches, and rings adorned with precious gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, pearls, emeralds, and notably, large diamonds. Among the lots, lot 10 stood out with its stunning 25.80-carat pear-shaped diamond ring.
Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree's prized possession, a breathtaking diamond ring, was undoubtedly the highlight of the auction. This exquisite ring boasts a remarkable 25.80-carat pear brilliant-cut diamond, set in platinum and flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 1.25 carats. The large diamond has a GIA report certifying its G color and SI2 clarity. Initially estimated to be worth between $400,000-500,000, this unique and stunning piece of jewelry generated significant interest among bidders, ultimately fetching a staggering final sale price of nearly $1 million, specifically $979,000 (including buyer's premium). It's no surprise that this extraordinary diamond ring is considered one of Lady Leslie's most cherished possessions.
This auction included several lots that had diamond collectors eagerly bidding. In addition to the prized diamond ring, a pair of diamond stud earrings captivated bidders. These stunning earrings were estimated to sell for $200,000-$300,000, but their popularity resulted in a final bid of $468,750 (including buyer’s premium). The earrings featured two diamonds weighing 10.07 and 10.22cts, making them a valuable addition to any jewelry collection.
Yellow gold jewelry was also in high demand during the auction. Lot 31, a German gold necklace arranged in a braided design, was estimated to sell for $6,000-$8,000. However, both bidders and viewers were stunned when the necklace sold for an astounding $46,875 (including buyer’s premium). Similarly, the Van Cleef & Arpels diamond bracelet, featuring 69 round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 7.50cts, went for the same price as the gold necklace.
Lot 72, a Baroque South Sea cultured pearl, diamond, and irradiated diamond necklace was another highlight of the auction. This necklace had multiple size pearls and sixty-six round full-cut diamonds, which surpassed its estimated value of $3,000-$5,000 by sevenfold with a final bid totaling $34,375 (including buyer’s premium). Lot 23 also featured South Sea cultured pearls, presenting white, cream, and golden varieties. The necklace was estimated to sell for $6,000-$8,000 but ended up selling for an impressive $31,250 (including buyer’s premium).
Jewelry collectors were also excited about the bracelets found in lots 32, 40, and 20, the latter of which was a Van Cleef & Arpels creation. Lot 40 was a beautiful David Webb rock crystal and lapis lazuli bracelet that sold for $28,125 (including buyer’s premium). Lot 32, a mother-of-pearl, turquoise, and diamond bracelet, exceeded its estimated value of $8,000-$12,000, selling for $22,500 (including buyer’s premium).
Lot 8 offered a striking Zambian emerald and diamond ring that attracted multiple bidders, ending at $21,250 (including buyer’s premium) but starting with a modest $5,000-$7,000 estimate. The ring was made with 18k yellow gold and a rectangular emerald-cut Zambian emerald, along with eighteen round full-cut diamonds.
Lady Leslie’s collection also included some intricate, eye-catching brooches, such as lots 22 and 48. The favorite of the group was lot 22, a Tiffany & Co. gem-set bird brooch featuring mother-of-pearl set with 107 diamonds, twenty-eight yellow sapphires, a carved black onyx beak, and round ruby eyes. This parrot-like piece sold for a grand total of $17,500 (including buyer’s premium). Lot 48, an antique gem-set bird brooch, was estimated at $2,000-$3,000 but sold for $10,625 (including buyer’s premium). This stylized bird brooch featured antique full-cut and rose-cut diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, totaling 43.5 grams.
Overall, Lady Leslie’s collection proved to be a hit with jewelry collectors, with many pieces selling for much higher than their estimated values. The auction showcased a variety of styles and designs, making it an exciting event for jewelry enthusiasts. Make sure to check out the latest auctions on Bidsquare.com to not miss out on the action of ground breaking auctions like these and more!
Derek Koffi-Ziter | Social Media and Content Manager at Bidsquare
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