For millions of Americans, the name Shirley Temple elicits cheerful memories of the sweet innocence of childhood. The famous child star, who was born on April 23, 1928, has delighted children with her cheerful can-do attitude in the movies she starred in nearly a century ago. Her first role in Stand Up and Cheer!, which premiered in 1934, catapulted the young starlet into the national spotlight.
During the Great Depression, Temple gave her fans a sense of hope and comfort, with her cherub cheeks, ringlet curls and bright persona, at a time when all hope seemed lost. By 1940, after starring in major hits such as Bright Eyes and Wee Willie Winkie, her face and name were considered a national treasure.
Maturing beyond her childhood fame, Temple (then Shirley Temple Black) stepped into the diplomatic spotlight when President Nixon appointed her U.S. Delegate to the 24th United Nations General Assembly in 1969. This would be the first of many appointments the star-turned-diplomat would assume during her adult life.
The joyful spirit of Shirley Temple, who passed away in 2014, will be celebrated once again as one of her personal treasures is set to twinkle at Sotheby’s on April 19th. As the headlining jewel of the New York Magnificent Jewels sale, a 9.54-carat Fancy Deep Blue diamond ring owned by Temple cherished by the star throughout her life will dazzle her fans just as she once did.
Frank Everett, Sales Director of Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York, commented: “It’s a privileged occasion when we are entrusted with a stone of such exceptional quality and rarity. It’s rarer still that a stone would tell as compelling a story as The Shirley Temple Blue.Shirley Temple helped to lift America’s spirits out of the Great Depression, and served her country in many capacities throughout the remainder of her life.”
Probably inspired by the title of her film The Blue Bird, Temple’s father purchased the ring for $7,210 in early 1940, around the time of her 12th birthday and the premier of the film. The blue diamond ring remained in Temple’s collection until her passing in 2014. Since colored diamonds were not as coveted then as they are today, the precious blue diamond has appreciated exponentially and is expected to fetch between $25 and 35 million.
No stranger to the allure of beautiful diamonds, Temple was famously photographed in 1933 holding the recently discovered Jonker Diamond, the worlds largest uncut diamond at the time), the implication that these were the world’s two most precious gems. Next month, Temple’s personal precious gem will hopefully pass on the bright spirit of an American icon to its new custodian.
Blue diamonds have historically performed well at Sotheby’s, usually setting new auction records each time. In November 2015, Sotheby’s Geneva sold the Blue Moon of Josephine diamond, a 12.03-carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond, for $48.5 million. The sale price set a new world record for any diamond or any gemstone – as well as a record price-per-carat for any diamond or gemstone. The Blue Moon bested the previous world auction record holder for any blue diamond: the 9.75-carat Fancy Vivid Blue Zoe Diamond, formerly in the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, sold for $32.6 million in November 2014.