A pair of rare and exceptional natural pearls suspended from a platinum, silver and diamond brooch sold for $3.3 million today at Doyle New York. Shattering its conservative estimate of $100,000 to $200,000, the exquisite jewel features two drop-shaped slightly brownish gray pearls measuring approximately 12.90 to 12.95 x 23.85 mm. and 12.90 to 13.05 x 22.45 mm., with silver and rose-cut diamond-set caps, suspended from a looped ribbon set with 23 old-mind cut diamonds weighing approximately 2.00 carats.

The lot is accompanied by a note stating in ink: History of Empress Eugenie’s Black Pearls & Necklace Brought to this country by George Crocker. Kept by his wife & his daughter Mrs. Philip Kearny _ Emma Rutherford. These in possession of Henry R. Benjamin for his eldest daughter.

With an additional notation in pencil: Given to Dorothy R. Benjamin to wear on Xmas 1925 and hold until Anne R. B. is of age. HRB. A notation on the reverse states in ink: Sometime must be put on top of box neck (necklace?) pearls in Guaranty Safe Deposit box 789. So careful of keys.

And in a different hand, below the fold: Roger
The impressive pearls were accompanied by a note that mentions the ‘History of Empress Eugenie’s Black Pearls & Necklace Brought to this country by George Crocker.’ Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon the III, sold her magnificent collection of jewelry at auction in 1887 after the fall of the their regime.

The historic auction of the French Crown Jewels took place in the Louvre and lasted twelve days, after which Tiffany & Co. proved to be the largest purchaser at the sale and bought almost a third of the crown jewels.

The back side of the brooch
The elegant brooch was created in 1920 and boasts a prestigious provenance as depicted by Doyle New York:

The Crocker Family
George Crocker (1856-1909) was the son of Charles Crocker, who founded the Central Pacific Railroad in California and left a fortune estimated between $300-400 million at his death in 1888. In 1894, George married California mining heiress Emma (Hanchette) Rutherford, a widow with three grown children. The new couple settled in New York and built an imposing Beaux-Arts townhouse on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. They also owned Shields Villa, a “cottage” at Ochre Point in Newport, RI, and they built a lavish country estate in Darlington, near Ramapo, NJ. In 1903, their youngest daughter, Emma Wallace Rutherford, married Philip Kearny, the son of General John Watts Kearny of Washington, DC.

The Rogers Family
Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840-1909) of Fairhaven, MA, was an American industrialist who made a fortune as a partner in Standard Oil and a founder of the Virginia Railroad. He and his wife, Abbie Palmer Gifford, both descended from families who had arrived on the Mayflower. He was also a close friend and confidant of author and humorist Mark Twain.

Henry Huttleston Rogers’ grandson, Henry Rogers Benjamin, married Dorothy Rennard, who wore the pearls on Christmas, 1925. Their daughter, Anne Rogers Benjamin, wore the pearls at her debut in 1941 at a ball hosted in her honor by her aunt, Beatrice Benjamin Cartwright, in the ballroom of New York’s St. Regis Hotel.

In 1945, Anne Rogers Benjamin married Robert Raymond Barry, and the couple settled in Bronxville, NY. In the 1959, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served three terms.

George Crocker, by descent to his daughter
Emma Wallace Rutherford (Mrs. Philip Kearny)
Acquired circa 1925 by
Henry Rogers Benjamin, by descent to his daughter
Anne Rogers Benjamin (Mrs. Robert R. Barry), by descent to her daughter
Mrs. Lewis A. Shea

The first page of the note that accompanied the pearls

The second page of the note that accompanied the pearls

Pair of Natural Pearls Sell for $3.3 Million at Doyle New York 0

Previous Article Next Article
“Janet, thank-you for everything you do. As I said before, you are truly an artist, and that is why it is so special buying jewelry from you.” Peter, Atlanta, GA

” Beauty, exquisite design, pleasant and personalized attention. These qualities have been constant in our 20 years of shopping with Janet and Jeff Deleuse – Two exceptionally talented and caring people. The Best!’ Helen P.,Belvedere

"This store has a very pleasant environment and Jeff and Janet are both kind, wonderful people. I used Jeff a few times for appraisals and he was very thorough and was happy to answer lots of questions. He uses scientific methods and tests rather than going solely by appearance as some jewelers will try to do, and his expertise is well respected. On one occasion, he even went out of his way to help expedite a deal for me. He has my highest recommendation. Suzanne T., San Rafael, CA

“Jeff is an incredible gemologist who knows everything there is to know about gem stones. He is a true professional and can be trusted. The quality of their work is impeccible and always consistent. I would recommend Deleuse Jewelers to anyone looking for a new, “bauble,” for themselves or someone special!” Terri B., Ross

"I have used Deleuse Jewelers for many years - for everything from purchasing jewelry to repairing jewelry to getting appraisals on jewelry. Their service and work is superb. I highly recommend them." Suzanne S., Tiburon, CA

"I purchased this beautiful chain from Janet Deleuse about 3 weeks ago. It was an online purchase so I was hoping I would be pleased. It exceeded my expectations as it was exactly as pictured. Delicate and perfectly crafted. Packing was very secure and shipping was quick. I would not hesitate to purchase from Deleuse again! Michele, New Jersey

“Janet and Jeff designed and crafted our wedding rings and did a great job. They worked with existing diamonds we had in an antique ruby cocktail ring, added the sapphire stone and made a beautiful pendant with the ruby. In addition, they designed earrings for our daughters. All are still in great shape today. They are easy to work with and very reliable and trustworthy.” Peg M., San Anselmo

Accreditation includes diplomas from the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society and thirty years of experience.

Recently Viewed