Estate Jewelry

A Brooch from the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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Nearly two decades ago, Sotheby’s held one of the most storied estate auctions to date, the sale of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ estate.  With all 1,195 lots selling for staggering prices relative to their estimates, the total realized amount of the 3 day sale, which took place April 23-26, 1996, was $34.5 million.  The catalogue itself is now considered a collector’s item, which features personal photos of the esteemed former First Lady and her prized possessions included in the auction.  Making up nearly half of the items in the sale were Jackie O’s precious jewels, which occupied 329 of the catalogue’s 584 pages.

Jewels from the sale of the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  Photo c/o USA Today

Just to shed light as to how far sale prices exceeded their estimates, a necklace made of 33 amber worry beads sold for $21,850 (its estimate was conservative at $200-$300) and a pair of round cufflinks sold for $17,250, obliterating its meager $300-$400 estimate.

The more important jewelry pieces sold for even more eye-popping figures and those pieces include:

Jackie O’s engagement ring from Aristotle Onassis, the Lesotho III Diamond ring by Harry Winston, a marquis-shaped “potentially flawless” 40.42-carat diamond (est. $500,000 – $600,000) – sold for $2,587,500



A 17.68-carat oval-shaped ruby and diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $20,000 – $30,000) – sold for $288,500

A pair of ruby and diamond earclips by Van Cleef & Arpels, diamonds set in gold flowers with pear-shaped cabochon ruby drop with diamond surround (est. $25,000 – $35,000) – sold for $360,000

A cabochon colored stone and diamond-pendant necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $75,000 – $100,000) – sold for $288,500

jackie_kennedy_necklace001 SONY DSC


A whimsical gem-set 18K gold “Scarecrow” brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $1,200 – $1,500) – sold for $101,500

A similar Scarecrow brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels

A similar Scarecrow brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels

An unusual pair of hammered 18k gold cuff bangle bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $1,500 – $2,000) – sold for $167,500


Provenance: Jewelry from the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sotheby’s New York, April 24, 1996, lot 451.


An emerald and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, with five pear-shaped emerald drops weighing roughly 132 total carats and each drop capped by gold and diamonds and then each attached to a gold-flower set with diamonds (est. $100,000 – $125,000) – sold for $277,500

A 61.17-carat cabochon emerald and diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $10,000 – $15,000) – sold for $85,000

A 47.00-carat kunzite and diamond ring (est. $6,000 – $8,000) – sold for $415,000


Now with those prices in mind, the following brooch from this sale seems like a bargain at $10,000, which is currently available at Betteridge.


Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Roman Coin Spray Brooch
Spray brooch, centering on a gold Roman coin, surrounded by an 18k yellow gold and emerald foliate spray, from the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 1.8″ length and 1.6″ width.


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    Jackie O’s Van Cleef & Arpels Hammered Gold Cuffs
    May 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    […] Jackie O’s collection of jewelry came up for auction at Sotheby’s in April 1996, the whole world was a-buzz about her […]

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