Sunday, July 21, 2024

The 10 Most Amazing Emeralds Ever Sold at Auction

Emeralds have long been cherished for their rich, verdant hues and their storied history, which stretches back to ancient civilizations. These captivating gemstones, known for their mesmerizing green color, have adorned royalty and inspired legends. Over the years, some extraordinary emeralds have made their way to auction houses, fetching staggering sums and captivating gem enthusiasts worldwide. In this article, we explore the ten most amazing emeralds ever sold at auction, delving into their unique stories and the prices they commanded.

1. The Rockefeller Emerald

The Rockefeller Emerald stands as one of the most illustrious and storied emeralds in the world. This 18.04-carat Colombian emerald, set in a platinum ring by Raymond Yard, belonged to the Rockefeller family, a name synonymous with wealth and prestige. When it was sold at a Christie’s auction in June 2017, it fetched an astounding $5.5 million, setting a record for the highest price per carat for an emerald at the time. The emerald’s impeccable clarity and vibrant green hue contributed to its extraordinary value, making it a coveted piece among collectors and connoisseurs.

2. The Elizabeth Taylor Emerald

Elizabeth Taylor’s love for jewelry was legendary, and among her most prized possessions was a magnificent emerald pendant. Gifted to her by Richard Burton, this emerald was part of the famed Bulgari emerald suite. The pendant, featuring a stunning 23.46-carat emerald, was auctioned at Christie’s in December 2011 as part of the Elizabeth Taylor Collection. It sold for an impressive $6.5 million, a testament to the emerald’s beauty and Taylor’s enduring legacy. The rich history and celebrity association of this emerald continue to fascinate gem enthusiasts.

3. The Stotesbury Emerald

The Stotesbury Emerald is another gem with a remarkable provenance. This 34.40-carat emerald, once owned by mining magnate Evalyn Walsh McLean and later by socialite Eva Stotesbury, has a storied past. It was sold at Sotheby’s in April 2017 for $996,500. The emerald’s exquisite color and the prestige of its previous owners contributed to its high auction price. The Stotesbury Emerald is a perfect example of how provenance can significantly enhance the value of a gemstone.

4. The Spanish Inquisition Necklace

The Spanish Inquisition Necklace is a breathtaking piece featuring 15 Colombian emeralds, the largest of which is 45 carats. This historical necklace, once part of the Spanish royal treasures, was sold at Christie’s in October 2011 for a staggering $7.9 million. The necklace’s intricate design and the exceptional quality of its emeralds make it one of the most extraordinary pieces ever auctioned. The Spanish Inquisition Necklace exemplifies the allure of historical emerald jewelry and its timeless appeal.

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5. The Hooker Emerald Brooch

The Hooker Emerald Brooch, featuring a 75.47-carat Colombian emerald, is another masterpiece that has captured the attention of collectors. This emerald, once owned by the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Abdul Hamid II, was purchased by Tiffany & Co. in the early 20th century. It was later sold at a Smithsonian Institution auction in 1955. The brooch’s exquisite craftsmanship and the emerald’s striking color and size make it a significant piece in the history of emerald jewelry. The Hooker Emerald Brooch remains an iconic example of emerald artistry.

6. The Imperial Emerald of the Grand Duchess Vladimir

The Imperial Emerald of the Grand Duchess Vladimir is a gemstone steeped in royal history. This 75-carat emerald was part of the personal collection of Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia. After the Russian Revolution, the emerald was smuggled out of Russia and eventually found its way to auction. In 2014, it was sold by Sotheby’s for an undisclosed sum, believed to be several million dollars. The emerald’s impressive size and its association with Russian royalty contribute to its mystique and value.

7. The Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace

While primarily known for its jadeite beads, the Hutton-Mdivani Necklace also features an extraordinary emerald clasp. The clasp, set with a 19.77-carat Colombian emerald, adds a unique dimension to this iconic necklace. The necklace was sold at Sotheby’s in April 2014 for a record-breaking $27.4 million. The combination of jadeite and emeralds in this piece highlights the versatility and beauty of emeralds in jewelry design. The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace is a testament to the enduring allure of emeralds in high jewelry.

8. The Duke of Devonshire Emerald

The Duke of Devonshire Emerald is one of the largest and most famous uncut emeralds in the world. Weighing an astounding 1,383.93 carats, this emerald was discovered in Colombia and later acquired by William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, in the 19th century. Although it has never been sold at auction, its immense size and historical significance make it one of the most extraordinary emeralds in existence. The Duke of Devonshire Emerald remains on display at the Natural History Museum in London, where it continues to captivate visitors.

9. The Chalk Emerald

The Chalk Emerald, a stunning 37.82-carat Colombian emerald, is another gem that has fascinated collectors and gem enthusiasts. This emerald was originally set in a necklace by Harry Winston and later reset into a ring by the same jeweler. The emerald’s vivid green color and exceptional clarity make it one of the finest examples of emerald jewelry. The Chalk Emerald was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Mr. and Mrs. O. Roy Chalk in 1972, where it remains a highlight of the National Gem Collection.

10. The Mogul Mughal Emerald

The Mogul Mughal Emerald is a unique and historical gemstone with an extraordinary provenance. This 217.80-carat emerald, carved with intricate Islamic inscriptions, dates back to 1695 during the Mughal Empire. It was sold at Christie’s in September 2001 for $2.2 million. The emerald’s historical significance, combined with its impressive size and intricate carvings, make it one of the most remarkable emeralds ever auctioned. The Mogul Mughal Emerald is a symbol of the rich history and cultural heritage associated with emeralds.


The emeralds highlighted in this article represent some of the most amazing and historically significant gemstones ever sold at auction. Each emerald has its own unique story, characterized by exceptional quality, illustrious provenance, and a beauty that has captivated collectors and enthusiasts for centuries. From the Rockefeller Emerald to the Mogul Mughal Emerald, these gemstones continue to enchant and inspire, solidifying their place in the pantheon of extraordinary emeralds. Their record-breaking prices and storied histories are a testament to the enduring allure and fascination that emeralds hold in the world of fine jewelry and gemology.

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