Auctions

Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

AuctionsFeb 20, 2024

Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

All 13 lots belonging to the actress and first wife of Steve McQueen sold at the recent “California Jewels” sale.

Neile Adams McQueen and Steve McQueen
Pictured here are Neile Adams McQueen and her husband Steve McQueen at their home in 1958. Several jewels Steve McQueen gifted to his wife went up for auction at Bonhams’ “California Jewels” sale. (Photo by Curt Gunther)
Los Angeles—Bonhams’ recent “California Jewels” sale highlighted jewelry and watches that belonged to Neile Adams McQueen, the first wife of actor Steve McQueen.

The actress’ career has spanned eight decades, beginning around 1974 with performances across Broadway, television, and movies, with her final performance held in 2017.

She was a featured dancer in the original Broadway production of "Kismet” and cast by famed choreographer Bob Fosse as the dancing lead in "The Pajama Game." She caught the attention of the MGM movie studio and starred in "This Could Be the Night."

In 1956, she married Steve McQueen four months after they first met. They had two children, Terry and Chad. Steve McQueen died in 1980.

From 1974 to 2017, she performed in cabaret shows in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London, and made an appearance at a Royal Gala at The London Palladium.

Guggenheim Films is producing a documentary film on her life, said Bonhams.

All 13 lots connected to McQueen were sold.

The “California Jewels” sale garnered a total of $2.1 million with 78 percent of lots sold.

Emerald-cut diamond ring
This 14-karat white gold ring set with a 6.89-carat emerald-cut diamond and two tapered baguette side stones was the top lot of Bonhams’ recent “California Jewels” auction, selling for $210,050.


The top lot of the 350-lot sale was a 14-karat white gold ring set with a 6.89-carat emerald-cut diamond and two tapered baguette side stones, which sold for $210,050, above its estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.

Cartier platinum and diamond ring
The No.2 lot of the auction was this platinum and diamond ring, belonging to actress Neile Adams McQueen, the first wife of Steve McQueen.


The No.2 lot was McQueen’s platinum ring set with a 3.80-carat old European-cut diamond, signed “Monture Cartier,” meaning it was created for “special clients,” said Bonhams.

“The jewel was first sought by Steve McQueen for himself, but after deciding it wasn’t right for him, Neile declared it would be perfect for her,” said the auction house.

The ring sold for $83,050, more than double its presale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

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“The first California Jewels sale of 2024 included some extraordinary jewelry with exceptional stones and exquisite craftsmanship. We were honored to present the collection of Neile Adams McQueen, which embodied her taste and discernment as a collector and celebrates such a spectacular figure in entertainment history,” said Emily Waterfall, director of Bonhams’ jewelry department in Los Angeles.

20240220_3-Bonhams McQueen.jpg
This platinum ring, set with a 5.92-carat fancy light yellow pear-cut diamond, was gifted to Neile from Steve McQueen on their 13th wedding anniversary.


McQueen’s platinum ring set with a 5.92-carat fancy light yellow pear-cut diamond, accented by tapered baguettes, sold for $40,960, above its estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

The ring was a gift from Steve McQueen on their 13th wedding anniversary, said Bonhams.

Raymond Yard platinum amethyst ring
This Raymond Yard platinum ring set with a 31.50-carat cushion-cut amethyst belonging to McQueen was also up for auction.


Also up for auction from McQueen’s collection was a signed Raymond Yard platinum ring set with a 31.50-carat cushion-cut amethyst with half-round, single-cut, baguette and modified baguette diamond side stones.

The amethyst ring sold for $16,640, well above its $2,000 to $3,000 estimate.

Diamond and ruby platinum ring
This platinum ring set with rubies and diamonds sold above estimate for $6,400.


McQueen’s “bombe-inspired” platinum ring set with round and baguette diamonds and rectangular and square step-cut rubies sold for $6,400, well above its estimate of $1,500 to $2,000.

Also up for auction was a station necklace with blue enamel discs accented by 12-karat gold flowers set with old mine cut diamonds on double 18-karat gold box chains, paired with matching earrings of a similar style.

The set sold for $6,400, above its estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.



Several watches from McQueen’s collection were up for sale, including an 18-karat yellow gold and diamond Cartier “Tank Américaine” watch, which sold for $16,640.

Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. color change sapphire and diamond ring
Another auction highlight was this Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. ring set with a color-change sapphire surrounded by diamonds.


Notable pieces from the overall sale included a Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. 18-karat yellow gold and platinum ring set with a 10.80-carat rectangular cushion-cut color-change sapphire surrounded by round and marquise-shaped diamonds.

It sold for $25,600, within its $20,000 to $30,000 estimate.

Hammerman Brothers diamond link bracelet
This Hammerman Brothers link bracelet is set with 15.80 carats of pavé round diamonds.


Another auction highlight was an 18-karat yellow gold Hammerman Brothers link bracelet set with pavé round diamonds weighing 15.80 carats. The bracelet sold for $17,920, within its estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.

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