Sotheby’s to Auction Off Fred Leighton’s Jewelry Collection

Sotheby’s is auctioning off the jewelry collection of one of the world’s most famous jewelers.

On April 18 in New York City, the auction house will hold a special sale, The Jeweler’s Eye: The Personal Collection of Fred Leighton, which will offer highlights of the legendary retailer’s incredible private stash of rare art, decor, and jewelry.

Leighton’s personal jewelry collection includes several special items he treasured for their beauty and rarity. His Manhattan apartment also featured a wide variety of furniture in the Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victorian. and Asian styles, and most of those pieces will be offered for sale.

The items Leighton collected span the 17th to the 20th centuries and were gathered from his travels all over the world.

The story of Leighton, who died last July at age 85, is the stuff of industry legend. He was born Murray Mondschein in the Bronx in 1932, the son of a cabdriver. Following a stint in the U.S. Army, he purchased a clothing store in the West Village with the name “Fred Leighton,” which specialized in wedding gowns. He quickly became attracted to—and one of the pioneers in—the estate jewelry business.

He eventually moved the store to Madison Avenue, where his store and brand became a red carpet fixture, and he was often called “The King of Estate Jewelry.” In the 1980s, he officially changed his name to Fred Leighton, since people kept confusing him with the store name anyway.

Here are some highlights of the collection that will be offered for sale by Sotheby’s:



Leighton brooch

A diamond brooch from Cartier in Paris, circa 1910. It carries a $50,000 to $70,000 estimate.


Leighton necklace

A diamond necklace from French jeweler Raymond Templier, circa 1950. It carries a $75,000 to $100,000 estimate.

Leighton ear clips

A pair of emerald and diamond ear clips.

Top: A gold, diamond, ruby, and emerald bangle bracelet (all images courtesy of Sotheby’s)


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JCK News Director