Auctions

2 of Sammy Davis Jr.’s Diamond Rings Top Bonhams Jewelry Auction

AuctionsJul 26, 2021

2 of Sammy Davis Jr.’s Diamond Rings Top Bonhams Jewelry Auction

They both sold for well above their pre-sale estimates in the recent “California Jewels” sale.

This diamond and gold ring once belonging to performer Sammy Davis Jr. sold for $69,063 at Bonhams on July 20, making it the top lot of the auction.
Los Angeles—Jewels with a celebrity provenance always drum up plenty of excitement at auction and pieces once belonging to Sammy Davis Jr. were no exception. 
 
Born in Harlem to Afro-Cuban vaudeville dancers, Davis (1925-1990) spent his life in showbusiness, breaking down myriad racial barriers to become a successful comedian, actor, dancer, and singer.
 
A part of the “Rat Pack” and a Tony-nominated performer, he also had a flair for style, always seen wearing a suit and donning at least one big gold ring. 
 
So when a few of his pieces recently went up on the block at Bonhams Los Angeles’ July 20 “California Jewels” sale, they were understandably popular with buyers who wanted a piece of the history that helped represent who he was. 
 
Topping the auction was a gold ring centered on an octagonal-shaped modified brilliant-cut diamond weighing 6.28 carats, seen at the top of the article. 
 
Estimated to go for between $30,000-$40,000, the ring sold for much more than its high estimate, garnering $69,063.
 
Also at the top of the sale, coming in at No. 3, was the 18-karat gold ring seen below, featuring a round-shaped brilliant-cut fancy deep yellow-brown diamond weighing 10.75 carats and marquise diamond accents weighing 1 total carat. 
 
This fancy deep yellow-brown diamond ring once belonging to Sammy Davis Jr. sold for $40,313 at Bonhams L.A.
This fancy deep yellow-brown diamond ring once belonging to Sammy Davis Jr. sold for $40,313 at Bonhams L.A.

It also went for well above its pre-sale estimate of between $7,000 and $9,000, selling for more than four times that at $40,313.
                                              
Davis’ 18-karat bicolor gold, diamond, and enamel monogram necklace also fell within the top 10 lots, selling for $20,313 compared with a pre-sale high estimate of $8,000. 
 
“Sammy Davis Jr. was an iconic performer with incredible style. He wore his jewelry everywhere, and the brown diamond in particular was one of his favorites, appearing in countless photographs,” said Bonhams Los Angeles Head of Jewelry Emily Waterfall. 
 
“There was palpable excitement during bidding and the outstanding prices achieved by the two rings from his personal collection demonstrate the strong demand for one-of-a-kind jewels with unmatched provenance.”
 
Coming in at No. 2 in the auction was a Bulgari set, pictured below, featuring a gold and pavé-set diamond link necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings with an estimated total diamond weight of 20 carats that sold for $40,313. 
 
This Bulgari gold and diamond set, sold as one lot, garnered $40,313 at auction.
This Bulgari gold and diamond set, sold as one lot, garnered $40,313 at auction.

There was also a multicolor sapphire and diamond brooch that garnered $37,813, compared with a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$7,000, and a multicolor sapphire and diamond bracelet that sold for $31,563, compared with an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. 
 
Meanwhile, the jewelry auction also included six pieces from modernist designer Art Smith, known for making jewelry influenced by biomorphism and Surrealism. 
 
Smith (1917–1982) trained at Cooper Union in New York City and sold his jewels at his store in Greenwich Village from 1946 to 1979. He would eventually be featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as well as numerous museum collections. 
 
The pieces featured in the Bonhams auction came from a collector who said her mother became friends with Smith in the late 1940s and bought several pieces at his Greenwich Village store.


Of the six items put on the block, only two sold during the event—a gold and opal bead ring and a sterling silver cuff bracelet, both of which can be seen above.  
 
Overall, the California Jewels auction achieved $1.3 million. To see the full results, visit Bonhams.com.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

MajorsJan 30, 2023
10 Jewelry News Stories You Might Have Missed

A column detailing how independent jewelers did last year and the top watch brands of 2022 were among the most-read stories last week.

FinancialsJan 27, 2023
Tiffany & Co. Shines for LVMH in 2022

Acquired in 2021, the brand’s high jewelry sales have doubled and its new “Lock” collection was an instant hit.

MajorsJan 27, 2023
Diamond Council of America Appoints Treasurer, Board Member

Executives from Fred Meyer Jewelers and Riddles Jewelers have filled the roles.

Brought to you by
Bringing Over 130 Years of Diamond Expertise to Modern Grading

De Beers Institute of Diamonds provides the very best in diamond verification, education and diamond services.

CollectionsJan 27, 2023
Piece of the Week: Heavenly Vices’ Lock Necklace

The Victorian-inspired design is a functional lock and key.

Weekly QuizJan 26, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Supplier BulletinJan 26, 2023
JA New York Spring Brings the Industry Together

For over 100 years, JA New York has played an integral role in facilitating the evolution of our industry, while also honoring past traditions.

TrendsJan 26, 2023
At Vicenzaoro, Paola De Luca Gazes Into Jewelry’s Future

The trend forecaster and her guests explored unconventional jewelry designs, NFTs, AI art, and more during her Trendvision presentation.

Brought to you by
De Beers Institute of Diamonds Expands to Offer Education

De Beers is sharing over 130 years of experience and expertise through the De Beers Institute of Diamonds with a selection of courses.

CollectionsJan 26, 2023
NDC and Lorraine Schwartz Announce New ‘EDDI’ Class

The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative provides diamond credit and mentorship to young brands helmed by BIPOC designers.

IndependentsJan 26, 2023
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Set to Open 10th Store

It will be located in San Antonio’s Alamo Quarry Market and will be Lee Michaels’ third location in the city.

Policies & IssuesJan 26, 2023
Diamonds Do Good Names 10 to Board of Directors

Stephanie Gottlieb, Jewelers Mutual’s Mike Alexander, and Craig Rottenberg of Long’s Jewelers are among the new board members.

WatchesJan 25, 2023
These Were 2022’s Top-Selling Watch Brands, Chrono24 Says

Rolex remained No. 1 while a brand known for its pilot watches slipped into the No. 5 spot.

MajorsJan 25, 2023
John Hardy Names New CEO

Luxury retail executive Frédéric Levy has taken on the role.

Events & AwardsJan 25, 2023
Couture DAC Accepting Applications for Mentorship Program

Jewelry designers have until early February to apply to take part in Couture's Diversity Action Council program.

CollectionsJan 25, 2023
Stephanie Gottlieb Announces First President, CCO Hire

Morgan P. Richardson joins from La Perla.

Policies & IssuesJan 25, 2023
PGI’s New Portal Wants to Teach You About Platinum

The new portal will share information on responsible platinum sourcing and how it’s used beyond jewelry.

SourcingJan 24, 2023
Tiffany Buys 35 of the Last Diamonds Recovered From Argyle

Purchased directly from Rio Tinto, the collection consists of pinks, purples and one red, none larger than 1.52 carats.

ColumnistsJan 24, 2023
On Data: Here’s How Independent Jewelers Did in 2022

Sherry Smith breaks down retailers’ performance last year, including how natural diamonds fared vs. lab-grown.

GradingJan 24, 2023
GIA and AGS Launch Diamond Light Performance Supplement Report

The AGS Ideal Report by GIA is a digital-only addition to GIA diamond reports.

MajorsJan 24, 2023
WJA Announces New International Board Members

The seven newcomers include executives from David Yurman, De Beers, and GIA.

EditorsJan 23, 2023
Designers to Watch in 2023: Aurelia Demark

The designer finds the modernity in classic motifs and family heirloom jewels.

Policies & IssuesJan 23, 2023
Melanie Grant Named Executive Director of RJC

She has more than 20 years’ experience in watches and jewelry, and says sustainability is the “greatest single issue” facing the industry.

Policies & IssuesJan 23, 2023
AGTA Forms Committee to Standardize Industry ‘Sustainability’ Terms

Its focus are words like “sustainability,” “ethics,” and “responsible sourcing.”

IndependentsJan 23, 2023
10 Jewelry News Stories You Might Have Missed

Another “Designer to Watch” and Kim Kardashian’s auction purchase were among our most-read stories.

MajorsJan 20, 2023
Quality Gold Acquires Herco

Herco President Reuven Itelman is retiring and selling the company, which will relocate to Ohio from California.

Lab-GrownJan 20, 2023
Siobhán Duffy Promoted to Chief Executive of Element Six

She was previously the executive director of sales and marketing for the De Beers Group-owned company.

TrendsJan 20, 2023
Piece of the Week: Loquet London’s Lunar New Year Charm

It’s from a new collection of charms designed to go in the brand’s signature lockets.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy