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Billie Holiday’s Diamond Watch & Other Top Jewels Set for Auction

The sale offers a broad selection of estate and designer pieces.

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Lot 3001, 4.51-carat Fancy Yellowish Green Diamond Ring Lot 3001, 4.51-carat Fancy Yellowish Green Diamond Ring

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The boutique fine jewelry and watch auction house, Fortuna will be hosting its July Jewels & Watches auction at 10 a.m. EDT on July 23. Part of its monthly auction series, the sale offers a broad selection of estate and designer pieces—most notably, a rare 4.51-carat Fancy Yellowish Green Diamond Ring, estimated at $120,000 to $170,000.

Despite the far-reaching effects of the pandemic on jewelry sales, big diamonds still have made their way into recent auctions with surprisingly positive results, and this Fancy Yellowish Green diamond is yet another example. Natural green diamonds are among the rarest of fancy colored diamonds, given the specific geological conditions for the green hue to develop. This particular stone, accompanied by a GIA report, exhibits a green that is finely saturated throughout and will be offered with a starting bid of $90,000.

Lot 1008, Billie Holiday Fine Diamond Watch in Platinum

Lot 1008, Billie Holiday Fine Diamond Watch in Platinum (Est. $4,000–$6,000)

Also offered at Fortuna’s sale are a couple of stunning diamond dress watches. The first watch is of notable provenance, belonging to legendary jazz vocalist, Billie Holiday. From extremely humble beginnings, Billie Holiday defied all odds as a young black girl living in America’s Jim Crow era. Her contributions to jazz and popular music shook the world and one of her most famous song performances, “Strange Fruit,” has continued to fuel civil rights activism throughout the decades. Her stunning diamond dress watch, engraved with “ To Billie From David 1938 ,” is a rare collectible commemorating the on-stage glamour of a historic artist, who endured trials beyond compare.

In addition to Billie Holiday’s dress watch, is yet another fine dress watch, harkening to a past age of glamour and glittering jewels: a stunning circa 1940s Rolex diamond watch bracelet. Coming from a Florida estate, this vintage diamond watch bracelet features a concealed dial and is adorned by over 40 carats of round brilliant-cut and baguette diamonds. It will be offered for an estimated $58,000–$70,000.

Lot 2098, Cartier Évasions Joaillières Diamond and Cultured Pearl Earrings

Lot 2098, Cartier Évasions Joaillières Diamond and Cultured Pearl Earrings (Est. $30,000–$60,000)

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In designer jewels, the auction features a fine pair of Cartier Diamond and Cultured Pearl Earrings, part of the French jewelry maison’s “Évasions Joaillières” collection, which introduced bold designs drawing inspiration from different exotic destinations and time periods. These earrings feature almost tribal geometric patterns and are meticulously set with over 500 round brilliant-cut diamonds, giving it a frosted look. It currently retails at Cartier for $155,000 and is being offered this week at auction with a starting bid of just $24,000. Apart from Cartier, the auction catalog is abundant with iconic designer jewels, such as a Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger Enamel and Diamond Bracelet, a BVLGARI Serpenti Diamond Bracelet, and more.

The auction goes live on Thursday, July 23 at 10 a.m. EDT, but you can start placing your bids online now. To browse the full online catalog, visit FortunaAuction.com.

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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