Jewelry & Watches

Barbara Sinatra's 20.6 Carat Diamond Engagement Was Just One of the Fabulous Jewels Sold at Auction This Week

It's been a big week for jewelry.

'Tis the season to... bid ferociously on fabulous jewelry. It's been a big week— Christie's and Sotheby's both held Magnificent Jewels auctions in New York, and Skinner's Important Jewelry auction took place in Boston.

The competition was particularly fierce at Christie's, where—after six-and-a-half minutes of tense bidding—a diamond "tube" bracelet by Suzanne Belperron set a world record auction for the designer at $852,500.

Belperron famously never signed her pieces—she said her style was her signature.

When the bracelet was consigned to Christie's, the auction house contacted Nico Landrigan, president of Verdura and Belperron, to seek his opinion (his father Ward Landrigan, owner of Verdura, acquired the Belperron name and archive of designs in 1999.) "There was no doubt in our minds of its authenticity," says Landrigan. The jewelry house had drawings of the piece in their archives, and it matched an advertisement found in a 1948 issue of Vogue Paris (which was also published in a book about Belperron.)

Suzanne Belperron

"Belperron invites—she commands—a second and third look," says Landrigan. "She was very good at making sure that you couldn't really understand the whole piece in your first glance. Whoever bought it— it's a wonderful mystery—they won't get bored of it."

At Sotheby's, Barbara Sinatra's personal jewelry collection was up for sale, led by her 20.6 carat diamond engagement ring that Frank slipped into a glass of Champagne when he proposed. It went for $1.7 million.


Additional jewels from Mrs. Sinatra's collection, along with artwork and other objects from the couple's various homes, are still up for sale.

Also up for auction at Sotheby's were selections from the collection of Happy Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller's second wife, including a pink tourmaline, sapphire, emerald, and diamond pendant necklace and earclips, by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Among the offerings at Skinner's were a 14 carat emerald, diamond, and ruby brooch, also by Van Cleef & Arpels.

If these jewels have ignited your gift-giving instincts, check out T&C's holiday gift guide!

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Liz Cantrell
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