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Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection.

Fine Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

In today’s world, exclusivity is key. Everyone wants to impress their friends, but most want to own something they…………can not only appreciate and wear timelessly, but also have the power to say they own something truly in its own realm. With this alexandrite ring the possibility of owning a museum quality gemstone is here. It is the ultimate example of high taste and unique style necessary for any high jewelry collection. The enormous size, pristine clarity and evenness of color………..of this center set alexandrite is a feat that only Mother Nature can provide. It is coupled with a prestigious report from the Gubelin laboratory of Switzerland which subsides any doubts in any jewelry lover or collector’s hearts. It’s not only fascinating that the earth can create such a beautiful stone. It is also something magical that through the illusion of incandescent and fluorescent lighting we can see a phenomenon that is truly amazing. In addition people are able to harness that and use master craftsmanship to create a whole piece of stunning gemological art that can be worn.

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Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

A blend of mold-breaking fashion and superior craftsmanship. The “Rainbow” Daytona is accented by a carefully curated array of diamonds around the lugs and meteorite sub-dials, which only adds to its allure.

Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” in 18K Gold with Box and Papers

Rolex’s “Rainbow” Daytona is one of the most audacious watch designs to have been made by the conservative company. Rolex started out with a solid 18K Daytona, added diamond pave to the lugs and crown guards, decorated the glossy black dial with factory diamonds, and added meteorite sub-dials. To top it off, the bezel was set with an array of rainbow-colored sapphires, each in a unique shade. The result is extremely luxurious and appealing to collectors for the use of materials and the expert craftsmanship, not to mention the rarity of the Rainbow Daytona.

For more video content, click here to subscribe to FORTUNA’s YouTube channel.

2019DEC Van Cleef & Arpels Retro Gold Diamond Bracelet

Van Cleef & Arpels

With boutiques in the poshest locations in the world and a history of making astounding pieces for royalty, Van Cleef & Arpels is one of the world’s most recognized, exclusive jewelry and watch brands. Serious collectors appreciate the high quality and beautiful stones used in Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. 

What Is Van Cleef & Arpels? 

When Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef married in 1895 in Paris, they formed more than just a love match. The joining of their families, both with deep roots in the precious stone trade, also marked a new chapter in Parisian jewelry. The Van Cleef & Arpels company continues to thrive today, more than 100 years after its founding, as an exclusive jewelry and watch maker. 

Estelle Arpels’ father dealt in precious stones, while Alfred Van Cleef’s father was a diamond broker. Alfred joined his father-in-law and brothers-in-law to create a boutique called the Maison, which has maintained the same address in Paris since 1906. The company designed many unique pieces in the early days, including Touch Wood jewelry that combined wood with precious stones and metals. It soon expanded to watches as well. 

Van Cleef & Arpels also became known for its exquisite crowns made for royalty around the world. Some of its most famous pieces include the crown of Queen Nazli of Egypt and one for Empress Farah Pahlavi in Iran. The latter crown uses stones from the Imperial treasury, and the stunning piece includes diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. 

How Can You Identify Van Cleef & Arpels Pieces? 

Each piece of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry displays a unique serial number as well as a signature stamp, which appears in the same place depending on the piece. On earrings, for instance, it sits on the ear clip. The stamp says Van Cleef & Arpels or VCA. 

Van Cleef & Arpels only employs 18-karat gold. Each handmade piece looks polished and professional, living up to the company’s high standards. The signature Mystery Set™ style allows the prongs of the setting to remain invisible, and it is so labor-intensive to make that the company only produces a few of these pieces each year. 

What Is Van Cleef & Arpels Known For? 

Some of the most famed pieces in Van Cleef & Arpels history include: 

  • A bracelet with rubies and diamonds made to look like red and white roses that took the grand prize at the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. 
  • An Art Deco style necklace owned by Queen Nazli of Egypt with 220 carats of diamonds.
  • A pearl and diamond jewelry ensemble given to Grace Kelly as a wedding gift from her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Most Iconic Designs and Collections

Fans of Van Cleef jewelry recognize the brand by its Alhambra collection, which features the signature look of Van Cleef & Arpels with a design that resembles a simplified four-leaf clover. But you can find many other pieces that are just as noteworthy. Here are six of the top designs and collections beyond Alhambra: 

  • King Farouk’s broach: Made in 1938, this statement piece features hundreds of dazzling rubies. 
  • Frivole collection: Reminiscent in some ways of the Alhambra collection, this collection features a simple 3D flower made from hearts.
  • Passe-Partout necklace: This revolutionary necklace allows the wearer to swap out the jewels and change the piece into a bracelet, brooch or choker. 
  • Ballerina brooch: This brooch, inspired by Louis Arpels’ friendship with George Balanchine, eventually led to an iconic series. 
  • Lucky Animals collection: While these fun creations are aimed at a younger audience, they’ve been favored by many famous women, including Grace Kelly. 
  • Ruban secret watches: This collection is an updated version of the 1800s trend of “secret watches” that looked like bracelets. 

Where to Buy Van Cleef & Arpels Pieces

You can find Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry pieces for sale from Fortuna Auction. We are honored to sell jewelry from this legendary brand, and whether you are building your collection or just starting one, you can find many appealing pieces. Register to bid at an upcoming Fortuna auction today. 

Omega Apollo-Soyuz Speedmaster Vintage

The Most Collectible Types of Omega Speedmasters

The Omega Speedmaster line of chronographic wristwatches has been a popular choice for decades. The Speedmaster began as a sport and racing timepiece in 1957 and quickly became a preferred option for military applications due to its split-second timing capabilities. Several astronauts who participated in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs wore them during their missions, including lunar landings, leading to the nickname of “moon watches.”

What Is an Omega Speedmaster?

As a chronographic watch, the Speedmaster combines the performance capabilities of a stopwatch and display watch. These watches enable the user to make quick calculations that require precise timing. The Omega Speedmaster line combines these and a host of other technologically advanced features with a luxury watch’s attractiveness, enabling the brand to flourish for more than 60 years. 

Omega Speedmaster Variations

Omega has produced multiple Speedmaster versions over the years, many of which have become highly valued collectors’ items. Some of the more coveted Omega Speedmaster watch incarnations include:

  • Omega Speedmaster Reduced: Although it’s not necessarily the top choice of collectors, the so-called “Marui” is among the rarest Speedmaster models. Omega produced less than 2,000 of these watches, which were scaled-down versions of the full-size Omega Professional line. 
  • Speedmaster 125: Another relatively scarce Speedmaster model, the limited-edition 125 first hit the marketplace in 1973. The watch was one of the first to include automatic chronographic movement. Despite this unique feature, the 125 never caught on with many buyers, likely because of its bulky design. Still, with a worldwide production of only 2,000 units and a relatively low price, it can provide a solid value for Omega Speedmaster collectors.
  • Apollo XVII Gold: Omega launched this Speedmaster watch in 2017 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17, the final moon landing mission executed by the pioneering Apollo space program. The timepiece features the engraved words “Tribute to Eugene Cernan,” the mission’s commander who passed away that year. With only 272 units in circulation, this gleaming gold watch is sure to become a collector’s item.
  • Silver Snoopy Award: Another Apollo commemorative watch, Omega introduced the Silver Snoopy Award in 2015 to pay homage to the 45th anniversary of Apollo XIII, the near-disastrous mission that spawned the oft-repeated catchphrase, “Houston, we have a problem.” The watch was an instant success, as its 1,970 units sold out in a few hours. Its value has nearly tripled in the ensuing years, making it a much-desired target of Speedmaster collectors.
  • Speedmaster ’57: This 60th-anniversary edition of the first Speedmaster appeals to collectors of vintage Speedmaster watches. It even includes an engraving of “Speedmaster” in the same font as the original. It also foregoes any indication of “Professional,” which didn’t make its appearance until 1964.

Buy or Sell an Omega Speedmaster Watch at FORTUNA®

If you’d like to purchase or sell vintage or high-value Speedmaster watches, there’s no better place than FORTUNA. Our auction process promotes transparency and ensures fair value for everyone. Contact us today for more information.

cartier crash

The Origin of the Cartier Crash

Surrealism is an artistic movement that has significantly impacted literature, painting, film, photography and sculpture. However, the aspects of the surrealism movement have also shown up in fashion. The surrealism movement began in 1917 with Georgio de Chirico’s paintings, but it’s most famous for Salvador Dali’s unique work. Many people immediately recognize Dali’s 1931 painting, The Persistence of Memory, and its abstract portrayal of melting clocks. 

The Cartier Crash watch, designed by Jean-Jacques Cartier in the late 1960s, closely resembles Dali’s famous melting clocks, with a distorted, oblong shape. Many people believe Dali’s painting inspired the watch. However, Cartier did not intentionally design the Cartier Crash based on Dali’s paintings. This abstract piece of jewelry has a slightly different history.

Where Did It Originate?

Louis-Francois Cartier founded the Cartier brand in Paris in 1847. His sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques continued the business in Paris, New York and London during the 20th century, eventually dominating international watch and jewelry design.

The Cartier Crash watch originated in Jean-Jacques Cartier’s boutique on London’s Bond Street, which remains the company’s flagship location. When the Cartier Crash debuted in 1967, Cartier produced it in limited quantities. Two different stories about the design’s inspiration have circulated since then, but both versions involve a blazing car accident. 

One rumor about the jewelry’s origin is that an elderly woman brought a watch to the boutique for repair after the heat from a car accident deformed its dial and case. Another version speculates that Cartier designed the watch in memory of a Cartier executive who died in a car crash while wearing a Cartier Baignoire Allongée watch. As with the other story, heat from the car crash distorted the watch. 

Before the alleged accident and ensuing Cartier Crash design, the Baignoire Allongée watch was undeformed but had an oblong shape. Its French name translates to “oblong bathtub” in English. Some have even joked that you can obtain a Cartier Crash by placing a Baignoire Allongée near a fire to achieve the same shape.

Aside from these speculations about the watch’s beginning, some people believe Dali’s paintings inspired the design. Its deformed shape closely resembles the iconic melted clocks. Despite all the theories about the watch’s design inspiration, the truth may be less exciting. Cartier’s granddaughter, Francesca Cartier Brickell, claims that Cartier’s inspiration for the design originated from his idea to pinch the ends of the oval shape to adapt it into something new.

cartier origin

Who Owned the Cartier Crash?

Many well-known celebrities have owned the Cartier Crash. Famous people such as Kanye West, Mary Quant, Stewart Granger, Tommy Nutter and Tyler, the Creator have worn the watch. In 2021, Jay-Z wore the 2015 update of the Cartier Crash, which is a skeletonized version in titanium that displays the watch’s inner gears. Celebrity attention increases the jewelry’s price and demand, making it much more challenging for collectors to obtain.  

Why Is It So Special?

The Cartier Crash is so unique because of its abstract design. The watch’s asymmetric shape symbolizes creative freedom and non-conformism. In a way, its distorted design is a form of rebellion against the standard watch designs people were used to. It boldly defies expectations and doesn’t reflect any decade’s stylistic features, making it stand out with a timelessness other watches can’t compare to.

The famous distorted case posed a challenge for Jaeger LeCoultre, who produced the manual movement of the Roman numeral dial. The watch has an intricate, complex movement custom-made to operate within its unique shape. It also has custom-printed Roman numerals that give the illusion of melting.

The Cartier Crash also stands out because of its scarcity. Cartier only released a handful of the 1967 design. In 1991, Cartier Paris released a smaller, updated version of the watch and only produced 200 pieces. In 1993, they updated and rereleased it to celebrate the rue de la Paix store’s opening. However, this time it was in yellow gold, and only 13 pieces were available. 

The watch’s engineering and inner workings make the Cartier Crash one of a kind. Engineers had to solve the challenge of fitting tiny gears into a distorted case. This accomplishment established the Cartier brand as a leader in watchmaking. The watches were rare not for marketing purposes but because of the work it took to produce them. 

Where Is It Today?

In 2018, the Cartier company released 50 pieces of the Cartier Crash Radieuse, an even more artistic update to the original design. Cartier reopened its original boutique on London’s Bond Street in 2018. To celebrate the historic boutique’s reopening, the company remade and released an update of the original Cartier Crash design, the Cartier Crash Bond Street, at one watch per month. The company also released the diamond-set Cartier Crash in a limited amount of 15.

In the past, only a tiny fraction of collectors sought the Cartier Crash, but today, it is much more popular. Original designs are selling at much higher prices, and updated ones are challenging to find due to increased attention and high demand. In December 2019, FORTUNA® auctioned the Cartier Crash for $81,250, surpassing its $50,000 estimate.

cartier crash today

Sell or Buy Cartier at an Upcoming FORTUNA®!

The Cartier Crash’s limited release, combined with its timeless design, has made it a high-demand collector’s item. To avoid misleading jewelers or pawn shops, sellers should opt to work with a premier, specialty auction house they can trust.

At FORTUNA, we help sellers understand the value of their pieces based on cut, origin, age, clarity and gemstone color grades. We offer free, unbiased and professional valuation for sellers in person and remotely. Buyers can bid confidently, knowing that our specialists thoroughly inspect pieces before listing them for auction. 

Options such as live bids over the phone, absentee bids, online bids and bids through our app allow buyers to participate from anywhere in the world. Contact us to buy or sell a timeless Cartier Crash watch.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified

Offering iconic watches and highly desirable estate jewels, the latest addition to FORTUNA®’s monthly auction series is sure to excite collector’s of all tastes. Bid now on a broad selection of jewelry and watch treasures—most notably a stunning and rare Fancy Yellow diamond from the famed Zimmi mines, highly regarded for producing the most vivid canary diamonds in the world. Diamonds from the famed Zimmi mines have an outstanding reputation within the diamond industry due to their distinct and highly-saturated yellow color—a color that is rarely seen.

4.24-Carat Square Step-Cut Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, GIA Certified, April Jewels & Watches auction

Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds are already known to be the crème de la crème amongst canary diamonds. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. This particular 4.24-Carat fancy yellow masterpiece is of Zimmi origin which is almost an immediate declaration of the diamonds’ superior color intensity—even when compared to other diamonds that are graded Fancy Vivid Yellow.

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46-Tiffany-Necklace

Behind the March Birthstone

Tiffany & Co. Aquamarine Morganite and Diamond Drop Necklace
Sold for $30,000

Birthstones play a significant role in people’s lives. Many people attribute good health, wealth and security to the gemstones they wear or use. Each month has at least one associated gem known as a birthstone. Read on to learn about March’s most popular birthstone.

What Is the Birthstone for March?

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March. This gemstone got its name because its bright blue color resembles clear ocean water. The name “aquamarine” comes from the Latin word for seawater, “aquamarina.”

Aquamarine is a part of the beryl mineral family, along with emerald and heliodor. Beryl gems are often flawless and transparent. This blue or cyan gemstone forms in igneous rocks and grows in giant six-sided crystals that can reach a foot in length. The gems can grow to impressive sizes, then be cut down and polished to resemble clean-cut stones.

David Webb Multigemstone Necklace
Sold for $10,625

When Did Aquamarine First Appear?

The first documented discovery of aquamarine was made in 1723 in the Siberian mountains. By the end of the 18th century, large deposits of aquamarine were exported from Russia and shipped to Europe.

Today, aquamarine primarily comes from Brazil. You can also find this gemstone in Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar.
 

Does Aquamarine Have a Meaning?

There are many meanings and symbols associated with aquamarine. In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans thought of aquamarine as the sailor’s gem. They believed this blue gem would protect sailors during storms while traveling across the ocean. Ancient cultures also thought aquamarine was a token of love between married couples. Now, it’s the official gemstone to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary.

Aquamarine also symbolizes happiness and everlasting youth in the Sumerian, Egyptian and Hebrew cultures. Many people believe that aquamarine has physical and mental healing powers. Modern believers think that the gemstone helps with fluid retention, glandular disorders and maintaining eye health. It’s also thought that aquamarine has calming, soothing and cleansing powers, making it an ideal gemstone for meditation.


Tony Duquette Aquamarine and Cultured Pearl Cuff
Sold for $17,500

Is Aquamarine Valuable?

Aquamarine is a semi-precious stone, making it an affordable gem. Light blue stones are abundant, which makes lighter varieties of the stone inexpensive. However, there are instances when aquamarine is more valuable. Rich, dark blue aquamarine is rare, so gems of those shades are highly valuable and more expensive.

One of the most famous pieces of aquamarine is the crystal Eleanor Roosevelt received as a gift from the Brazillian government in 1936. It weighs 1,298 carats and is the second-largest cut of aquamarine. 

Other famous aquamarine gemstones include the British Queen Elizabeth’s aquamarine tiara that matches her aquamarine necklace and earrings. Another member of the royal family also has an aquamarine piece of jewelry. Prince Harry gave his late mother Princess Diana’s aquamarine cocktail ring to his wife, Meghan Markle, as a gift.

Contact Fortuna Auction Today

Do you want to learn more about aquamarine jewelry? Fortuna Auction can help. We are the only global premier fine jewelry and watch auction house. Find out more information about gemstones and our upcoming monthly sales when you contact Fortuna today!

citrine

What Is Citrine?

If you own an extensive jewelry collection, there’s a good chance that at least one of your pieces consists of citrine. This semiprecious quartz variant is one of the most popular gemstones. Depending on the version, citrine exhibits an attractive golden brown to pale yellow color that closely resembles topaz. Examples of specific color options include bright and deep orange, golden yellow, lemon and reddish-brown.

Cartier Art Deco Citrine Diamond and Onyx Pin
Sold for $9,375

Citrine consists of large, visible crystals of quartz, the second most abundant mineral found in the earth’s crust. Although quartz is common, natural citrine is relatively rare. Madagascar and the Ural Mountains of Russia are among the few locations in the world where it’s possible to mine citrine. 

Natural citrine may develop in the form of geodes, which are secondary geological formations found in rock cavities. Geodes begin as mud balls in sedimentary rock or bubbles in volcanic rock. Over time, the outer shell of the geode hardens into a spherical shape. Citrine may also occur as veins of quartz beneath the earth’s surface.

What Is the Meaning of Citrine Stone?

The Ancient Greeks started using citrine as a gemstone around 300 B.C. The name derives from the Latin word “citrus” and the French word “citron” due to its yellowish hue. The color also exhibits the warmth, energy and power of the sun, another reason citrine stones are favorites of jewelry buyers around the world. Finding “natural” citrine is rare — in most cases, a heat-treating process transforms quartz into citrine. 

Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger Citrine and Diamond Bird On A Rock Brooch
Sold for $15,000

Citrine Characteristics

Besides its visually appealing color, citrine contains several properties that make it a top gemstone choice for watches, rings, necklaces and other jewelry pieces:

  • Clarity: Like most quartz materials, citrine offers a clear visual presentation. Because of its remarkable transparency, ensuring the color’s evenness throughout the stone is a primary consideration when purchasing a citrine stone. Small blemishes or cracks are also more likely to show.
  • Hardness: As a quartz derivative, citrine is harder than most minerals. It measures 7.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, trailing only topaz, corundum (sapphires and rubies) and diamond. However, as a gemstone, citrine is relatively soft. It’s possible to cut and shape citrine into various configurations. Although citrine jewelry pieces scratch easily, they’re tough enough to resist breaking or chipping.
  • Health benefits: Many people feel that wearing citrine jewelry contributes to better physical and mental health. The yellowish color projects warmth and stimulates the brain, promoting creativity, motivation and self-expression. It also wards off negative feelings like anxiety and depression.

What Is the Worth of Citrine?

The worth of a citrine piece largely depends on its color. In general, the darker deep red-orange color offers the highest value at around $30 per carat. The value typically diminishes as the shade lightens. Pale yellow products may only be worth about $10 per carat. Unlike diamonds and other gemstones, size has little impact on the price of citrine jewelry. 

Citrine and Diamond Gold Cuff
Sold for $150,000

Caring for Citrine Jewelry

Regular care helps preserve the beauty of a citrine ring, watch, bracelet, necklace or earrings. Due to the stone’s susceptibility to scratches, you should store citrine pieces in fabric-lined compartments of a jewelry box, away from other items. Use warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to clean your citrine products. 

Trust FORTUNA When Selling Your Citrine Jewelry

Do you have any citrine jewelry pieces you’d like to sell? FORTUNA’s process ensures you’ll get excellent value for your products and you’ll avoid the unscrupulous practices of many local jewelers, jewelry dealers or pawn shops. 

Contact us to learn more about what citrine is good for and how our auctions can help you get top dollar for your pieces. If you’re looking to buy, browse our upcoming auctions to see what’s available.

The Beauty of Kashmir Sapphires

Kashmir is a region of Northern India known for producing some of the most beautiful sapphires at market. The sapphire trade in Kashmir is relatively recent, beginning in the 19th century, while other places have centuries of history. 

Sapphires possess a rich history of being much sought after as beautiful additions to jewelry or standalone jewels. Yet, the desirability of Kashmir sapphires stand apart from sapphires originating from other regions, due to their rarity and appearance. 

Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, achieved $21,250 at FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels auction.

What Sets Kashmir Sapphires Apart From Other Sapphires?

The importance of the Kashmir origin among sapphires can be likened to Burma for rubies. Gem-quality Kashmir sapphires are unmatched for their gorgeous blue color, a blue that is often described as a “corn-flower” blue or having a “velvety” appearance—as pictured above in the Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, a highlight of FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels sale in the past. When compared to most other blue sapphires, the richness and quality of color in fine Kashmir sapphires are truly in a league of their own.

The velvety softness of Kashmir sapphires can be attributed to minute liquid filled cavities within the stone that can only be seen with a high-power microscope. Under magnification, Kashmir sapphires also exhibit a unique phenomenon known as “zoning,” where the blue hue seems to be concentrated in parallel bands. Unlike most other sapphires, Kashmir sapphires lose none of their vibrancy or strength of color under artificial light.  

Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring - Fortuna NYC
Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring, achieved $187,500 at FORTUNA’s 2018 September Important Jewels auction.

How Rare Are Kashmir Sapphires?

Kashmir sapphires are rare, and their presence at auctions are scarce compared to most other colored gemstones.

The unrest in the Kashmir region, where India and Pakistan have a longstanding dispute, makes further mining more difficult, contributing to the scarcity of the stone. Very little has been taken from the Kashmir mines since the early part of the last century. With no new gems coming out, the ones already in circulation are even more in demand. 

Kashmir sapphires remain the crown jewel in many collections. They have become more sought after as their scarcity increases, and finding a quality one at auction is considered a major achievement for those who appreciate their deep color, and velvety, soft smoothness.

Find Kashmir Sapphires With FORTUNA®

While origin is very important to a sapphire’s value, it is also critical to note that a Kashmir origin is not an automatic indicator of the gemstone’s quality. FORTUNA’s jewelry specialists have years of experience evaluating rare gemstones, including Kashmir sapphires, and are available to consult whether you are seeking a Kashmir sapphire to add to your collection or are looking to sell. Browse our upcoming auctions or contact us for more information. 

Foster Family Heirloom Comes to Auction

The Foster family built a great legacy as founders of one of the most successful retail lumber enterprises in the United States, and we are thrilled to share part of that legacy with you in our November Jewels & Watches auction. John McCullough Foster established his first retail lumberyard in Randolph, Kansas in 1879, the first of what blossomed into an empire of over 70 lumber yards across 5 Midwestern states.

John McCullough Foster and one of his sons, Benjamin, who succeeded him as President of Foster Lumber Company.

In 1880, the Kansas Central Railway was extending its line, in an area formerly known as Clinesburg, Texas. The Fosters established a mill there, and what began as tenant housing quickly grew into a flourishing town known as Fostoria. The Fosters brought a progressive, idyllic existence, making sure to give back to the community. Schools, churches, a store, a hotel, and more were all run by the family. The only thing not run by the mill was the post office. Today, the Fosters are remembered as progressive employers creating a fulfilling living experience for all lucky enough to live in a Foster-held community.

The Fosters learned to enjoy their vast wealth, investing in fine jewelry as well. In 1945, one of Foster’s grandsons, also named John, spotted this luminous Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring at William Schmidt & Sons, right here by Rockefeller Center half a century ago. This exquisite piece has remained with his family as an heirloom ever since.

Original 1940s advertisement material from Wm. V. Schmidt Co., Inc. about Cat’s Eye gemstones.

What are Cat’s Eye Gemstones?

Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring, an exquisite Foster family heirloom (Lot 2250, November Jewels & Watches)

Cat’s eye, or chatoyancy, occurs in gemstones when a band of light is reflected from a series of thin crystals in a stone that are parallel to each other. The eye of a chrysoberyl is the sharpest of any cat’s eye gemstone, but the optical effect can be found in moonstones, aquamarines, and tourmalines. In chrysoberyl gems, fine silk crystal inclusions create this effect. When light obliquely strikes such a stone, it usually creates a shadow effect within the gem. The side opposite the light is a rich brown, while the side facing the light is yellowish-white. This so-called “milk and honey” look is characteristic of the finest cat’s eyes and makes them so desired.

This exquisite example of a cat’s eye chrysoberyl was offered in FORTUNA®’s November Jewels & Watches auction for an estimated $6,000–$8,000, and achieved a final price of $11,250. For more details on this lot, click here.