Magnificent Jewels

Magnificent Jewels

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 102. A Historically Significant Emerald Ring | 祖母綠戒指.

From the Collection of Mrs. Frank Perdue, Sold to Benefit Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine

A Historically Significant Emerald Ring | 祖母綠戒指

Auction Closed

December 7, 09:12 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 USD

Lot Details


From the Collection of Mrs. Frank Perdue, Sold to Benefit Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine

A Historically Significant Emerald Ring


Featuring a square emerald-cut emerald weighing 5.27 carats, size 5¾, signed Valentin Magro.

Please note the AGL report was updated on November 14, 2022 as report no. 1127600, confirming the emerald is of Colombian origin with minor, traditional treatment.

Accompanied by AGL report no. 1127600 dated November 14, 2022 stating that the emerald is of Colombian origin, clarity enhancement: minor, type: traditional.

The extraordinary treasures of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha reflect the unimaginable wealth and vast domain within the New World that Spain controlled in the early 17th century. When the overladen Spanish galleon tragically wrecked on a coral reef and sank off the Florida coast amidst a hurricane in 1622, the ship’s hold contained some 180,000 coins and 24 tons of ingots struck from Bolivian silver as well as 125 bars of gold bullion extracted from the Caribbean, Mexico and the Andes amongst its many treasures. 

In addition to precious metals, the ship’s detailed log recorded an astonishing 70 pounds of rough-cut emeralds mined from Colombian sources in Chivor and Muzo which the Spanish had first learned of in the early 16th century. As Spain introduced these gems to a European and, in time, a global audience, their shocking depth of color, size, and clarity were unlike anything previously known from the long depleted Egyptian mines of antiquity.

After spending 363 years lost and submerged, the Atocha wreck (as it came to be known) captured the world’s attention when news first broke of its discovery in 1985. Long time treasure hunter Mel Fisher and his team had steadfastly searched an area off the coast of Florida for 16 years, weathering the loss of friends and family in the pursuit, before finally locating the remains of the ship and its precious cargo. These efforts required the belief and patronage of many individuals, amongst them Frank Perdue who was an early believer and fellow enthusiast of Atocha history.

The present lot is set with an expertly cut stone faceted from an emerald crystal recovered from the Atocha. In 1988, Mel Fisher and Frank Perdue worked with famed emerald lapidaries Reginald C. Miller and Jerrold Green of New York to select the best possible emerald crystals from their collection so that a fine gem could be cut for each of them. The resulting 5.27-carat stone was set in gold and proudly presented by Frank to his wife Mitzi as a cherished engagement present and in remembrance of this tremendous undertaking. 

Mitzi Perdue has led a long and successful career as a writer, businesswoman, and activist. A Harvard graduate, she has been a rice farmer and president of the 40,000 member American Agri-Women coalition. In the 1990s and early 2000s, her column, The Environment and You, was the most widely syndicated environmental column in the U.S. Most recently, she wrote Mark Victor Hansen: Relentless, a biography of the founder and co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

As one of the many voices in the fight against human trafficking, Mitzi recognized the potential for abuse amidst the war in Ukraine and wrote a blog post on the subject for Psychology Today. This garnered attention from General Andriy Nebytov, head of the Kyiv Regional Police, who invited her to visit Ukraine in August 2022 to witness the conditions firsthand. The experience was harrowing and profound, prompting Mitzi to take action. She has since earmarked all royalties from from her biography of Mark Victor Hansen to benefit humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Likewise, all proceeds from the sale of the Atocha emerald ring will go for these efforts. “My late husband was the most philanthropic person I ever knew,” she said, “and I’m certain he would feel that the highest and best use of this emerald is to help prevent suffering in Ukraine.”