Lot 451
  • 451

Gold, Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond and Emerald Ring, Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany

100,000 - 150,000 USD
185,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • gold, colored diamond, emerald
Centering a marquise-shaped Fancy Intense Yellow diamond weighing 4.37 carats, framed and flanked by 16 round diamonds of yellow hue weighing approximately 1.25 carats, accented by six calibré-cut emeralds, size 4½, signed Tiffany & Co.; 1915-1920.

Catalogue Note

Accompanied by GIA report no. 2155909027 stating that the diamond is Fancy Intense Yellow, Natural Color, VVS2 clarity. Together with the original working diagram stating that the diamond may be potentially Internally Flawless.

Please note that the round diamonds of yellow hue have not been tested for natural origin of color.

 Louis Comfort Tiffany was the consummate designer, creating works of art in many different media, beginning with painting and, then, turning to interior decoration, mosaic work, stained glass windows, leaded glass lamps, favrile glass, and enamels on copper.  In 1902, he began experimentation with jewelry design.  At first, the department was part of Tiffany Furnaces. In 1907, this division was consolidated with Tiffany & Co. and, from that date until the department closed in 1933, all the jewelry was signed with the Tiffany & Co. signature. This yellow diamond ring dates to circa 1915 to 1920, a time period when Meta Overbeck was in charge of the jewelry workshop. She designed jewelry in Mr. Tiffany’s style, always cognizant of his taste and approach to art.

Tiffany was a colorist and continually searched for unique hues in the gemstones he chose. It was most likely George Frederick Kunz who sourced this yellow diamond.  He had been Tiffany & Co.’s gemstone expert since he began working with the company in 1877.  He traveled the world in search of the rare and beautiful that Tiffany had his artisans artfully mount into one-of-a-kind jewels.  White diamonds were anathema to this color conscious artist; too monochromatic for his taste and rarely used by him. His preference for color led him to seek out special gemstones for his unique designs such as the yellow diamond in this ring.  Many yellow diamonds unearthed during the first quarter of the twentieth century exhibit pale hues or uneven color distribution. Tiffany wanted only those with an even dispersion of color as epitomized by this 4.37-carat marquise-cut fancy intense yellow diamond. Calibré-cut emeralds accent old European-cut yellow diamonds surrounding the center stone.

The yellow diamonds and emeralds on this ring are set into a filigree mounting in a manner reminiscent of ancient jewelry.  Tiffany had also employed similar work on a pair of candlesticks that he exhibited in the Columbian Exposition Chapel from 1893 and on the gilt bronze fire screen from the Havemeyer House, now at the University of Michigan School of Art and College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Only a few Louis Comfort Tiffany jewels were set with yellow diamonds. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has in their collection a yellow diamond and zircon necklace, formerly in the collection of Ellen du Pont Wheelwright. Other examples include two yellow diamond rings, one set with four fancy-cut small diamonds that, at one time, had been in the collection of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Garden Museum, Matsue, Japan and, the other, with a 11.05-carat fancy intense yellow diamond, which sold at Sotheby's New York in December 2009.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was a colorist, evident in all areas of his oeuvre, but it was gemstones imbued with unique hues that fascinated this color conscious artist.  This yellow diamond ring epitomizes his “eye” for the beautiful in his selection of this exceptional diamond, surrounded by complementary gemstones.

            Janet Zapata

Author: The Jewelry and Enamels of Louis Comfort Tiffany