The curated selection of exceptional jewels encompass a range of Kashmir sapphires and Colombian emeralds.
May 26, 2023: The Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction on June 9 will present a collection of jewels of exceptional rarity and beauty, from the famous Mellon Family. Previously, in 2014, Bunny Mellon’s collection of interiors and jewels raked in a total of $218 million at Sotheby’s.
The priceless jewels that are offered for sale at Sotheby’s belonged to Constance Prosser Mellon and her daughter Constance Barber Mellon, also known by the name Connie. The collection comprises precious stones and jewels in pristine condition from esteemed houses and designers such as Cartier and David Webb.
A magnificent necklace adorned with five Kashmir sapphires, weighing a total of approximately 34.95 carats, accented by round, baguette and square-cut diamonds, created by Cartier in the 1950s ($2.5-3.5 million), alongside a family heirloom, sapphire and diamond ring ($1.5-2.5 million), Colombian emerald and diamond ring ($150/250,000) complete the trio of striking Cartier pieces from Constance Prosser’s collection.
Equally intriguing is Connie’s collection which features more fashion forward and whimsically designed jewels of David Webb, the quintessential American jeweler of the 1960s. The highlight of the collection is the ‘Elephant’ brooch ($40/60,000) studded with numerous precious stones in Mughal style. A rich representation of the owner’s bold personality, the assortment of dazzling and opulent jewels include a ruby and diamond ring ($40,000 – 60,000); ruby and diamond necklace ($30,000 - 50,000); ruby, emerald, enamel, and diamond clip-brooch ($40,000 - 60,000), and a gold, diamond and ruby desk timepiece, all by David Webb.
For a bit of background, The Mellons, the greatest philanthropic and most influential American family, began their journey to become the wealthiest family, in 1818, when Richard K. Mellon’s grandfather, Thomas Mellon, came to America. Belonging to a family of farmers, Thomas later became an attorney and a judge before establishing T. Mellon & Sons Bank with his younger two sons, Andrew and Richard. Together the brothers amassed a significant interest by investing in countless industries including aluminum, steel and railroads.
Constance Prosser Mellon.
In 1937, Richard B. Mellon’s son, Richard K. Mellon took over the family's economic interests and assets, following his uncle, Andrew W. Mellon’s death. He merged two of the family firms, Mellon Bank and Union Bank, into Mellon National Bank and Trust Co. The same year Mr. Mellon took over the management of the family business, he founded the Richard King Mellon Foundation, naming his wife, Constance Prosser Mellon as its Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Unofficially deemed as “American Royalty,” the couple mightily contributed to the growth and prosperity of Pittsburgh with Constance leading the charge. They donated considerable sums to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and other higher education institutions in the area. The Foundation also focused heavily on conservation, influenced by Richard and Constance’s love of the outdoors, and funded countless other projects such as hospitals and medical schools in western Pennsylvania, social services and cultural activities.
- By Pritha Debroy