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Jewels from Reclusive Heiress Huguette Clark Fetch $21 Million

04/18/2012 at 11:30 AM ET

Huguette ClarkAP

The 17 dazzling jewels that reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark kept locked away in a bank’s safety deposit box for the past 70 years had their coming-out party Tuesday — winning applause and generating $21 million at auction, at least $10 million more than pre-sale estimates.

All eyes were on one piece in particular: a rare, 9-carat, Belle Epoque cushion-cut pink diamond ring (below), whose pre-sale estimate had been between $6 million and $8 million.

When the bidding started at Christie’s New York, auctioneer Rahul Kadakia called out “Four million dollars,” reports MSNBC. After a first bid, the price jumped to $7.5 million, as Kadakia said, “All right, why waste time?”

Final price: $14 million, plus commission, for a total outlay of $15,762,500.

The lucky fellow taking home “the pinky ring,” as the New York Post called it, was self-proclaimed “diamondier” (of Stettner Investment Diamonds) Brett Stettner, 38, who told the newspaper he planned to name the diamond after himself.

“It’s an honor to have a stone with such a provenance. I’m out for perfection,” said Stettner, adding, “The diamond will speak to me. Right now it says, ‘I’m gorgeous, make me better.'”

Huguette Clark Estate
Courtesy Christie’s

Other major pieces included a 19.86-carat rectangular-cut Cartier diamond ring (above) that went for $3.1 million; a Cartier art-deco diamond bracelet, for $578,500; and a ruby, sapphire, emerald and gold Tiffany bracelet, for $266,500, reports Forbes.com.

Born in 1906, Clark withdrew from public view before she was 30 and died last May after living in a New York City hospital for decades. She was 104.

Her Fifth Avenue apartment, listed for $24 million, was sold for an undisclosed price last month. Still available are two other apartments, at $19 million and $12 million, and her country home in New Canaan, Conn., at $19.8 million.

Her oceanfront home in Santa Barbara, Calif., said to be worth $100 million, is to be converted into a public museum for her art collection, according to one of her wills, which is currently the subject of a legal battle, reports MSNBC.

–Stephen M. Silverman

LOOK BACK AT ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S MOST FABULOUS FASHIONS AND JEWELS

FILED UNDER: Jewelry

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Showing 17 comments

HG on

RIP….

Benji Lincoln on

what is the point of life even with all these money? live alone all those years, kind of sad.

Jon on

That’s nice!

lonnie on

The lady obviously lived the kind of life she wanted to. It’s a shame (and it figures) that her will is being contested. The roaches always come out of the woodwork when money is involved. It was her will, they should honor her wishes. R.I.P.

tada on

Just proves you can’t take it with you when you go!

TSHAPE on

Wow.
RIP heiress.
I’d love to see the oceanfront property in SB too. I’ll bet that’s equally stunning.

tada on

@TSHAPE google “huguette clark santa barbara estate pictures” they are on the web. Beautiful estate

JR on

I’m gagging a bit over the comments of the buyer of the pink diamond – naming it after himself? Ewwww. But I do hope that the plans laid out in her will for the Santa Barbara mansion will end up being honored – that is a great property, and has been basically abandoned for decades. Would be so cool to open it to the public as a museum!

abemaslow on

Not MSNBC, but msnbc.com. (Different companies.)

angel on

Safe deposit box, not safety deposit box.

Jeanine on

So sad that she lived almost 70 years alone. May she Rest In Peace.

sue on

Brad should have waited a week and bought the pink diamond for Angie’s engagement ring, instead of the super tacky one she got!

Les on

How sad that this woman had all this money, property and beautiful homes and spent a huge chunk of her life living in a hospital, she wasn’t even sick. Just goes to prove money can’t buy happiness.

lonnie on

@angel Safety Deposit Box is also a correct term. Don’t correct people if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Barbara on

She became a recluse because of the money not in spite of it. This is the last picture of her ever taken, not an attractive woman. I just hope she wasn’t an unhappy person in spite of her isolation.

Barbara on

She could have lived the high life but I don’t think she trusted anyone. Even at the end her will is being contested because of the people she put into the will. Hopefully her legacy will prove more generous than what she did in life.

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