Antique & Estate Jewelry

Sotheby’s to Auction Mellon Family Jewels


Sotheby’s upcoming Magnificent Jewels sale has already been making headlines for the 10.57 ct. Eternal Pink—its “most significant” pink diamond ever, with an estimate of $35 million—but there’s another reason besides that top lot to pay attention to the June 8 auction: Mellon family jewels.

This isn’t the first time Sotheby’s is hosting jewelry from the influential American family; in 2014, the auction house achieved a whopping $218 million across 1,200 lots from the personal collection of Bunny Mellon, a confidante of Jacqueline Kennedy. Now it’s garnered a small collection of important pieces from another segment of the Mellon family: Constance Prosser Mellon and her daughter Constance (Connie) Barber Mellon.

Prosser Mellon was the daughter of New York financier Seward Prosser and married Richard King Mellon, who was the grandson of Thomas Mellon, founder of Mellon Bank and head of the Mellon dynasty. Prosser Mellon lived in Pittsburgh with her husband while daughter Connie opted for a faster-paced life between the affluent inner circles of New York and Washington. (Bunny Mellon was married to Richard King Mellon’s cousin Paul.)

Connie Barber Mellon was a patron of the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions. Her and her mother’s appreciation of the arts is demonstrated by the incredible collections of jewels they amassed throughout their lives. Below is a closer look at a few of the pieces heading to auction next month.

Cartier ring
Cartier ring with a 33.51 ct. emerald-cut sapphire and baguette diamonds, estimate $1.5 million–$2.5 million
Cartier emerald ring
Cartier ring with a 12.35 ct. emerald-cut emerald and baguette diamonds, estimate $150,000–$250,000
David Webb brooch
David Webb clip-on brooch (circa 1965) with fluted, cabochon, and pear-shape emeralds, carved and pear-shape rubies, and round and single-cut diamonds, estimate $40,000–$60,000
David Webb ring
David Webb ring with an oval double-cabochon star sapphire and half moon-, trapezoid-, and pear-shape diamonds, estimate $20,000–$30,000
Cartier circa-1950 necklace (also pictured at top) with 10.01 ct., 7.66 ct., 7.35 ct., 5.45 ct., and 4.44 ct. sapphires and round, baguette, and square-cut diamonds, estimate $2.5 million–$3.5 million
David Webb timepiece
David Webb desk timepiece (circa 1965) in gold with round diamonds and round rubies, estimate $30,000–$50,000
David Webb ruby ring
David Webb ring with carved ruby and round diamonds, estimate $40,000–$60,000
David Webb necklace
David Webb necklace with a ruby cabochon, ruby beads, and single-cut diamonds, estimate $30,000–$50,000

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By: Annie Davidson Watson

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