The Annenberg Diamond. Weighing 32.01 carats. Mounted by David Webb. Estimate: $3-5 million US. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2009
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s, the world’s leading auction house for fine jewels and the market leader in the category for the past 15 years, announced that The Annenberg Diamond, a spectacular D color, Flawless diamond of 32.01 carats, will be the leading highlight of Jewels: The New York Sale on October 21, 2009. Valued between $3-5 million and boasting the impressive provenance synonymous with the Annenberg name, this extraordinary diamond will be among the most highly-anticipated jewels offered at auction in the coming Fall season.
The Annenberg Diamond
The Annenberg Diamond is a square emerald-cut D color, 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 jeweler David Webb.
François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe and International Head of Jewels commented, “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 centers, including Geneva, London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York.
The Honorable and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg: Distinguished publisher, diplomat, and philanthropists
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 jewelry 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 greyblue 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, theaters, 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.
Beyond their remarkable generosity, the Annenbergs were well-known in social circles for their refined lifestyle and social prominence. Among the many illustrious friends and guests they entertained were former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the late President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby.