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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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When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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