‘Fairy Tale’ Jewelry Collection of Reclusive Heiress Could Fetch $12 Million at Auction

The “fairy tale” jewelry collection of one of the last great heiresses of America’s Gilded Age is expected to fetch $12 million at auction on April 17 at Christie’s, New York. The collection from the estate of Huguette M. Clark, who died last year at the age of 104, includes 17 notable items, including a rare 9-carat pink cushion-cut diamond ring, a magnificent 20-carat, D-color rectangular diamond ring, and an Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet.

“In the world of fine jewelry, this is truly a fairy tale collection,” Rahul Kadakia, head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas, told Forbes magazine. “Opening the vault to find this treasure trove of period jewels from the best French houses of the early 1900s has certainly been one of the most extraordinary moments of my 15-year career here at Christie’s.”

Clark’s collection, which is believed to have been stored in a bank vault since the 1940s, includes signed Art Deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co. and Tiffany & Co.

Clark, who was also known as “the reluctant heiress” for living a reclusive life after the 1930s, was the heiress to copper, timber and railroad businesses in U.S. When she was a child, her father, William Andrews Clark, was described by The New York Times as either the richest or second-richest man in America, vying with John D. Rockefeller. Though she was in relatively good health and inherited one of the great fortunes of the 19th century, she lived in a secluded hospital room for more than two decades.

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