The famous Rockefeller Emerald—an approximately 18.04 ct., octagonal, step-cut Colombian emerald acquired by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1930—is set to be the superstar lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels New York auction June 20.
Sold “on behalf of a private American collector,” according to Christie’s, the gem (which is set into a ring) is estimated to fetch between $4 million and $6 million.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. gifted the emerald (then set in a necklace said to have been created by Van Cleef & Arpels) to his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. When she passed away in 1948, it was given to the couple’s youngest son, David Rockefeller.
Top and above: The Rockefeller Emerald in a Raymond Yard–designed ring (Images courtesy of Christie’s)
David hired iconic jeweler Raymond Yard to design a ring setting for the stone. The stone, still set into the ring, was later passed from the Rockefeller family “into private ownership” and is being offered on behalf of a collector who acquired it over a decade ago.
“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,” says Tom Burstein, head of U.S. jewelry for Christie’s.
Most covetable among the emerald’s impressive roots may be its Colombian heritage.
Jennifer Heebner wrote about the rage for all gemstones Colombian for JCK earlier this year—Stuart Robertson, vice president and research director at Gemworld International Inc., told her, “When people talk about emeralds, it’s the classic Colombian—and then there’s everything else.”