Society / Featured Parties

Inside Heritage Auctions’ Jaw-Dropping Texas Jewels Preview

Gem Gazing, Giving Back, and Social Diamonds in the Afternoon

BY // 12.15.22

Here we reflect back upon some of the most unique social gatherings of the season, beginning with romancing the stones. 

A tony crowd gathered one perfect Saturday morning for a magnificent preview of one of the most exciting Texas jewel collections to come across the block, offered by Dallas-founded Heritage Auctions, the world’s third-largest auction house. The Crescent’s private meeting rooms served as a fitting backdrop for a collection that, days later, would generate significant dollars for Texas charities.

HeritageAuction-Cree-Event-009 (Photo by William Neal)Guests oohed and aahed the jewels at the Heritage Auctions Fall Fine Jewelry Signature Auction Preview. (Photo by William Neal)

Heritage Auctions raised a whopping $8.1 million at its Fall Fine Jewelry Signature Auction. The stunning collection included offerings from the estate of late philanthropist Mary Anne Sammons Cree — a Dallas native whose donations have benefited multiple institutions across the city — as well as other distinguished private caches of jewelry.

Cree’s exquisite lots numbered more than 125 jewels. Notable among them was a butterfly-shaped gold brooch with vivid yellow and orange diamonds, which sold for $40,000. The pin is an iconic representation of Cree’s philanthropy — one of her most notable gifts made during her lifetime went to the Texas Discovery Gardens’ Butterfly House, now known as the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House, named after Cree’s mother.

FYI: Another game-changing Cree gift to Texas was international architect Santiago Calatrava‘s sculpture, Wave, 2000-2002, permanently on view at SMU’s Meadows Museum.

Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring_Heritage Auctions
The Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring sold for $591,000 at Heritage Auctions Fall Fine Jewelry Signature Auction. (Courtesy Heritage Auctions)

Also among the collection was a 17.63-carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring, a pair of platinum and 18K gold diamond earrings, a platinum and 18K gold ring featuring a 6.68-carat diamond, and a platinum and 18K gold necklace boasting Asscher-cut diamonds, each of which sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars at the auction. 

Elizabeth Anthony

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ASSAEL
OLYMPIA LE-TAN
EMILY P. WHEELER
EMILY P. WHEELER
MARIA OLIVER
KATHERINE JETTER
MEREDITH YOUNG
LEIGH MAXWELL
MEREDITH YOUNG
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The collection show-stopper: a 1.21-carat Fancy Orangy Red Diamond, which sold for $1.755 million — nearly 12 times its pre-auction estimate and the highest bid for a new item of jewelry in Heritage Auctions’ history. The rare gemstone, previously set in a bracelet Cree inherited from her mother, is “one of only a few diamonds to display enough saturation and intensity to be graded as a true red,” says Jill Burgum, Heritage Auctions’ executive director of fine jewelry.

The sale of this star jewel was what ultimately brought Heritage to its final total of $8,168,119.

Proceeds from the spectacular Mary Anne Sammons Cree collection also gave back: The sale benefited an organization near to Cree’s heart — the Communities Foundation of Texas and North Texas nonprofits, dedicated to empowering communities through various charitable funds and grant-making initiatives.

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The late Mary Anne Sammons Cree, whose magnificent jewels went on the block at Heritage Auctions Fall Fine Jewelry Signature Auction, generating significant funds for doing good. (Courtesy Heritage Auctions)

PC Seen: Heritage Auctions vice president Ed Beardsley and colleagues executive director of fine jewelry Jill Burgum and trusts and estates director Michelle Castro; and guests Mary and Steve CrossonLynne and Roy SheldonMargaret GronbergDanielle FosterLinda YanceyMichelle BlakesElsie Garcia, and in from Houston, PaperCity‘s Catherine D. Anspon with husband John Walker.

Prepare your paddles: Heritage Auctions’ Luxe Jewels Auction takes place Thursday, January 5; bidding opens December 22. Learn more about Heritage Auctions here.

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