Barbara Walters’ Fine Jewelry a White-Glove Sale at Bonhams

AuctionsNov 07, 2023

Barbara Walters’ Fine Jewelry a White-Glove Sale at Bonhams

The late journalist’s antique jewelry proved to be of particular interest.

Barbara Walters Belle Epoque diamond bow brooch
Bonhams New York auctioned items from the estate of the late journalist Barbara Walters on Monday. Among the top-performing jewelry lots was this circa 1910 diamond bow brooch, which sold for $35,840. Walters wore it to Sir Elton John’s 60th birthday party in 2007.
New York—All 94 pieces of fine jewelry belonging to the late Barbara Walters found buyers at Bonhams New York Monday, though some lots garnered more aggressive bidding than others.  

The lot expected to bring the highest total, the 13.84-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity Harry Winston engagement ring the journalist received from third husband Merv Adelson, sold for $699,000, at the low end of its estimated range of $600,000-$900,000. 

Similarly, a pair of “Gemset” earrings from renowned designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal, better known as JAR, featuring spessartite garnets and rubellites sold for $229,100 against a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. 

According to Bonhams, Walters owned a number of JAR pieces, with the designer creating “bold and audacious designs” specifically to suit the personality of the award-winning journalist. 

A buyer paid $229,100 for a pair of tourmaline, yellow sapphire and diamond earrings JAR made for Walters, near the top end of their pre-sale estimated range of $150,000 to $250,000. 

Her paisley-shaped JAR earrings set with peridot, tourmaline, sapphire, and diamonds sold for $203,700, squarely in the middle of their pre-sale estimated range of $180,000 to $250,000. 

While Walters’ show-stopping engagement ring and Gemset JAR earrings brought mixed results at auction, her antique pieces fared better.

A buyer paid $32,000 for the broadcaster’s diamond and gem-set Cartier Art Deco watch, nearly five times its highest pre-sale estimate, $7,000. 

Walters’ circa 1910 Belle Epoque diamond bow brooch (pictured at top of article) brought in $35,840, topping its highest pre-sale estimate of $20,000.  

And a buyer paid $14,080 for her custom Harry Winston “BW” diamond necklace, double its highest pre-sale estimate of $7,000.  

 Related stories will be right here … 

Bonhams held the live portion of the “Barbara Walters: American Icon” sale Monday in New York, auctioning off various items from the late broadcast legend’s $8 million estate.

In addition to jewelry, the sale included furniture, artwork, and personal items from the Manhattan home Walters occupied for decades.

Walters, who died in December 2022 at age 93, was a trailblazer for women in journalism. 

She was the first female co-host of NBC’s “Today” show and the first woman to anchor a network evening news program, ABC Evening News.

She also co-hosted ABC’s newsmagazine program “20/20” alongside the late Hugh Downs for two decades and was one of the creators of another show that’s still airing, the talk show “The View.” 

Over the course of her career, Walters received numerous awards for her achievements, including 11 Emmy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (2000), and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2007).

She was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 1990.

The online portion of Barbara Walters: American Icon, which includes costume jewelry, is set to conclude later today.

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