The gemologists at New York Loan Company, Manhattan’s luxury pawnshop, work daily with magnificent gemstones and diamonds in their private offices in New York’s Diamond District. Emeralds, especially untreated, are very desirable to gemstone fans and collectors alike.
One particular 43.3-carat Colombian emerald, the Stotesbury emerald, is a famous stone that has passed through the hands of some of the most renowned jewelers, socialites and collectors. Slated for auction in April, the stone has a sales estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. Its fascinating American journey began in 1908, when Cartier designed a necklace for Evalyn Walsh Mclean, an eccentric mining heiress. The necklace was created to feature McLean’s 94.8-carat Star of the East diamond as well. Only a few years later, Cartier received the emerald back in its possession in a complex exchange with the heiress for the legendary Hope Diamond.
Eva Stotesbury, a wealthy socialite for whom the stone is named, purchased the stone from Cartier, selling it not long after to iconic jewelry house, Harry Winston. Harry Winston reset the emerald as a ring and sold it to wealthy jewelry collector, May Bonfils Stanton. The ring has since resided in a private collection following the 1971 sale of Mrs. Stanton’s estate by Parke-Bernet Galleries of New York.
The stone’s unique provenance is unlikely to be replicated by any other emerald, after its glamorous excursion through haute jewelry houses and the lives of America’s elite.
There are numerous examples of million dollar emeralds, including a Cartier art deco tiara with a carved emerald and a 19.7-carat emerald engagement ring given to the Duchess of Windsor by King Edward of England. The most successful jewelry houses in the world – Graff, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co. – create high-end works of jewelry with the treasured green stone.