Millions of dollars worth of estate jewels hit the auction block at Christie's in Rockefeller Center next Monday and Tuesday.
In part, the event will serve as an end-of-the-century celebration of American jewelry design, says Simon Teakle, senior vice president at Christie's and head of jewelry collections. CBS News This Morning has a glittering preview.
This auction is a combination of luck and timing, Teakle says. "With a strong U.S. economy, and Asian recovery since '97, the jewel market is, once again, a good investment."
People still collect as they traditionally did in a whole set, he adds, but it's worn differently today:
"A well-heeled woman is not likely to wear a full ensemble of necklace, earrings, bracelet, ring and tiara, but rather an important piece, one or two at a time," Teakle explains.
"Jewels today are fun, not serious," he adds.
The jewels have toured Christie's galleries around the world, and Teakle expects the buyers on Monday and Tuesday to be from the Middle East, Western Europe, Asia, South America and the United States.
"Buyers are from all walks of life, from the serious collector, to the person buying a single frivolous gift piece," he adds.
The periods covered include belle &ecute;epoque (1895-1914), art nouveau (1895-1910), deco (1915-30s), retro (1940s), and antique (more than 100 years old).
Christie's will auction some of the finest jewels of the century in three separate auctions:
American Chic focuses on American designers, such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb and Harry Winston.
A key piece in this group is the Rockefeller Dodge diamond pendant (26:61 carats).
Magnificent Jewels is a collection of important estate pieces.
Key pieces include a pear-shaped diamond (25 carats), an art deco Egyptian bracelet and a collection of 100 pairs of cufflinks.
The Collection of Sybil Harrington highlights 20 pieces from this Texan oil heiress and is expected to earn more than $2 million.
A key piece is emerald and diamond jewelry made from a tiara Napoleon gave to his second wife, Empress Marie-Louise.
The most expensive items are the Fuller, Rockefeller and green diamonds: Each is expected to fetch between $1 million to $1.5 million.
For more information visit Christie's Web site.
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