Rockefeller family Colombian emerald makes $5.5m

A huge Colombian emerald that once belonged to the Rockefeller family sold for $5.5m at Christie’s yesterday.

It was the star of the Magnificent Jewels sale held in the auction house’s headquarters at the Rockefeller Center in New York. 

Rockefeller emerald Christies

The 18.4 carat stone is prized for its extraordinary clarity 

The 18.4 carat stone is one of the finest emeralds on the market, prized for its size and clarity.

John D Rockefeller, the oil magnate and industrialist, acquired it for an undisclosed sum in the early 1930s.

Rockefeller was one of the richest people to have ever lived. He became the world’s first billionaire in 1916 and had increased his fortune to an estimated $400 billion by his death in 1937.  

The emerald was originally the centrepiece of a brooch he had made for his wife Abbey.

After she died, she left the brooch to her son David – who had it split up into its constituent parts.

David had this emerald set on a ring by famed New York jeweller Raymond Yard.

Christie’s explained before the sale: “Due to its rarity, an emerald of this quality and significant weight is not readily found in the market, and it is ranked at the top of its class.”

The lot failed to beat the $6.5m record for an emerald, set in 2011 for a 23.4 carat specimen set on a brooch that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.  

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