Magnificent Jewels

Magnificent Jewels

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 32. Fancy Light Yellow Diamond Ring.

Property of a Gentleman

Fancy Light Yellow Diamond Ring

Auction Closed

June 7, 04:43 PM GMT


350,000 - 550,000 USD

Lot Details


Featuring a cushion-cut Fancy Light Yellow diamond weighing 34.28 carats, size 6½, convertible to a pendant.

Accompanied by GIA report no. 5192972947 dated January 9, 2019 stating that the diamond is Fancy Light Yellow, Natural Color, VS2 clarity.

Please note that the stone is currently unmounted and will be remounted upon request for the purchaser by Sotheby's following the auction.

While most jewels with royal provenance hail from the great houses of Europe, this impressive 34.28-carat Fancy Light Yellow purportedly formed part of the crown jewels of Hawaii. Legend has it that the jewel was acquired by King Kalākaua (1836-1891) for Queen Kapi'olani (1834-1899) to wear to Queen Victoria's 1887 Golden Jubilee celebration. For King Kalākaua, as the heir to a relatively new dynasty, it represented an opportunity to showcase his discerning taste and affluence as he sought to position himself, and his kingdom, on the global stage. The ring's journey continued to San Franciso where the monarch was said to have left the diamond with Crocker Bank as collateral for a loan to fund his penchant for gambling. A few years after Kalākaua’s death in 1891, it is believed the diamond was sold privately and, by 1950, had entered the collection of restauranteur Frank Spenger. The diamond was displayed in his restaurant with a plaque proclaiming it the “Star of Denmark” and detailing a slightly different, though equally intriguing, account of its history. According to this version of events, the diamond was discovered in the Kimberley Mine of South Africa in 1885 and gifted to Queen Kapi'olani by Alexandra of Denmark upon the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. However, this elaboration upon the stone’s provenance has largely been dismissed by historians.


Whether it shone on the hand of Queen Kapi'olani or made San Francisco its home for reasons other than royal debts unpaid, the allure of this exquisite gem persists as it waits for the next chapter to be written.