Huguette M Clark (pictured top right) is regarded as being one of the last great heiresses of America's Gilded Age. Now her remarkable estate collection, believed to have been stored in a bank vault since the 1940s, is expected to auction for $9-12m.
Treasures in Clark's collection include signed art deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co and Tiffany & Co. Also for sale is an extremely rare nine-carat pink diamond ring and a superb 20-carat D-color diamond ring.
"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," said Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie's Americas.
Described as "a fairytale collection" by Kadakia, the collection's meticulously preserved jewels offer a time capsule of the great Gilded Age in American history, the era of rapid economic and population growth in the US following the Civil War.
The expected star of Huguette M Clark's jewellery collection includes a cushion-cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond of 9.00 carats. By the French jeweller Dreicer & Co, the purplish pink diamond is mounted in a Belle Époque setting.
The stone was originally set circa 1910 and is understood to have belonged to Ms Clark's mother, the former Anna Eugenia La Chapelle. It was later handed down to Huguette. The ring is estimated at $6-8m.
With jewellery items of this calibre for sale, the Huguette M Clark collection is expected to draw much interest from collectors and dealers around the globe. Christie's auction takes place in New York on April 17.