Lot 126. The Rockefeller Emerald. A rare and historic emerald and diamond ring, by Raymond Yard. Estimate USD 4,000,000 - USD 6,000,000. Price realised USD 5,511,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s New York announced The Rockefeller Emerald highlighting its June 20th Magnificent Jewels New York auction. Sold on behalf of a private American Collector, this historically important gemstone is among the finest emeralds to be offered for sale at auction (Estimate: $4,000,000 – $6,000,000). 

This stunning emerald was acquired in 1930 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as the centerpiece of a brooch given to his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Upon her death in 1948 the 18.04 carat emerald was bequeathed to their youngest son, David Rockefeller. Honoring the trusted relationship formed by his father, David Rockefeller called upon Raymond Yard to design a setting that would perfectly highlight the superior quality and beauty of what had become a family gemstone. Mr. Yard successfully executed one of his most important private commissions. This stunning stone later passed from the Rockefeller family into private ownership and is being offered on behalf of An Important American Collector, who acquired it over a decade ago, and still maintains the same magnificent setting nearly seventy years later. 

Tom Burstein, Head of US Jewelry: “The Rockefeller Emerald is one of the best gemstones to ever be offered at auction and its superior beauty and quality are matched only by its historic name. Christie’s is especially proud to be offering this Raymond Yard ring in the heart of Rockefeller Center, in our New York Saleroom.”




Lot 126. The Rockefeller Emerald. A rare and historic emerald and diamond ring, by Raymond Yard. Estimate USD 4,000,000 - USD 6,000,000. Price realised USD 5,511,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017

Set with an octagonal step-cut emerald, weighing approximately 18.04 carats, flanked on either side by trapezoid and circular-cut diamonds, 1948, ring size 7 3/4 ins., mounted in platinum, in a Raymond C. Yard red case. Signed Yard for Raymond Yard, no. A14976.

Accompanied by report no. 17050041 dated 8 May 2017 from the Gübelin GemLab stating that the origin of this emerald would be classified as Colombia, with no indications of clarity enhancement; also accompanied by an Information Sheet further detailing untreated emeralds 

With report no. CS 1084137 dated 3 May 2017 from the AGL American Gemological Laboratories stating that it is the opinion of the Laboratory that the origin of this emerald would be classified as Classic Colombia, clarity enhancement: none; also stating that 'the unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors present in this material contributes favorably to its rarity and desirability' 

ProvenanceDavid Rockefeller
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller

Literature: N. Kuzmanovic, Yard: The Life and Magnificent Jewelry of Raymond C. Yard, New York, The Vendome Press, 2007, p. 108-109.

Known for his unique flair and keen eye for quality, Raymond Carter Yard set a high standard for American jewelry design in the 20th century. Born the son of a railroad conductor in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1885, as a boy Raymond Yard became known to William Elder Marcus, owner of Marcus & Co, an established jewelry firm in New York City. After Yard’s father passed away, Marcus offered the young Raymond a job, and at thirteen years of age he quit school and moved to Manhattan with his mother. 

Under the guidance of William Elder Marcus, Yard immersed himself in the world of jewelry and steadily climbed the ranks of the firm, forming close relationships with the elite of American society along the way. Yard’s honest demeanor and knowledge of jewelry caught the eye of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and they developed a personal and professional relationship that would greatly affect Yard’s career. 

Rockefeller strongly encouraged Raymond Yard to establish his own firm. Yard resigned from Marcus & Co. at the age of 37, and opened his first salon in May 1922 at 527 Fifth Avenue. Within four years, with business booming and more space needed, Raymond C. Yard, Inc. had moved location up Fifth Avenue. Raymond Yard’s extensive client base greatly helped him to grow his company. Rockefeller believed in Yard’s brand and introduced him to New York’s wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts, the DuPonts and the Woolworths. 

In 1930 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased through a private owner a brooch for his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The brooch, said to be by Van Cleef & Arpels, centered upon a large emerald with mesmerizing color and impeccable clarity. When Abby Aldrich Rockefeller passed away in 1948, Rockefeller turned to Yard to disassemble the brooch. Individual emeralds from the setting were distributed among the Rockefeller children. 
The center emerald, weighing an impressive 18.04 carats, was given to David Rockefeller. Entrusting Raymond Yard with this stunning gemstone, Rockefeller asked Yard to mount the emerald as a ring. Executed with an elegantly understated diamond and platinum setting, the ring was one of Raymond Yard’s most important private commissions.
The intense color and distinct saturation that typifies a Colombian emerald is illustrated perfectly in this remarkable stone. Described by the American Gemological Laboratories as ‘Exceptional’, it possesses what the AGL calls an ‘unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors [that contribute] favorably to its rarity and desirability’. 

There is no other comparable emerald of this weight, quality and historical importance available in the market today. Notable Colombian emeralds appear in the some of the most famous collections, and throughout the years many have appeared at auction. Perhaps the most famous collection was that of Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, sold in May 1887, which contained several magnificent emeralds. More recently, in December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s 23.46 carat emerald Bulgari brooch commanded much attention. 

This superb Colombian emerald continues to embody the grandeur of the Rockefeller family name. Now the Rockefeller Emerald is to be sold — fittingly in the heart of Rockefeller Center, where John D, Rockefeller, Jr.’s dream of a ‘city within a city’ first came to life nearly a century ago. 

Previously set in a brooch belonging to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, this emerald was given to her youngest son, David Rockefeller, after her death. The emerald was brought to Raymond C. Yard by David Rockefeller and was mounted as the present ring in 1948.