Society / Featured Parties

Red Hot New Orleans Auction Swoops Into Houston’s Own White House With Million Dollar Jewels — and Reasonable Finds Galore

300 Pieces of Jewelry are Up for Grabs

BY // 11.01.19
photography Michelle Watson,

The New Orleans Auction Galleries’ annual soirée, held in the River Oaks Boulevard party house of Susan and Fayez Sarofim, is fast becoming one of the musts of the fall season. That just as the millions in jewels, watches and minaudieres on display in the Saturday, November 2 auction cache are must-have obsessions.

It’s a preview party like none other.

For starters, merely visiting the White House, as the Sarofim’s art-filled home is known, is a grand experience in itself. But the amps ramp up on entering the vast party room that on this night is filled with vitrines boasting some of the most glamorous auction items imaginable.

Take, for example, with the fancy yellow diamond ring, a dazzler with the 35.75 carats central stone flanked by rounded, brilliant-cut diamonds. It’s a beauty  that is expected to fetch between $900,000 and $1.2 million. In all, 300 pieces of jewelry on display.

Of course, the auction catalog, a tantalizing presentation of 181 pages, is filled with less pricy jewels, such as the opal, turquoise and diamond earrings priced between $2,000 and $4,000. And then there is the collection of Judith Leiber minaudieres, 16 in all, that beckoned from a tiered-case in the party room. Fashionistas will swoon over the selection of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other designer handbags found in the catalog.

Susan Sarofim, New Orleans Auction Galleries CEO, was joined by several members of her Crescent City team including the designer known simply as Burke and Taylor Eichenwald, who heads the firm’s marketing and public relations.

“With Susan Sarofim being our  owner  and having a relationship with Houston, we have a lot of buyers in Houston,” Eichenwald says. “And one of the biggest things we hear when people see the pieces in person is ‘Oh my gosh. Oh, my god. This is so amazing.’

“You can’t truly capture jewelry, as great as our pictures are, in photographs. And to bring it here and have people try it on, it’s just a lot of fun.”

And how fun it was to try on the mega yellow diamond ring!

While a string quartet played from the overhead balcony and Tony’s catering team kept hunger at bay and thirst slaked, the 200 guests perused the offerings, settled at tables beneath the mammoth live oaks and made plans for placing their bids on a few choice items.

As Susan Sarofim noted at last year’s event, “The estate jewelry has got to go, so. . . The reserve is usually extremely reasonable and if no one bids on it, what a deal!”

PC Seen: Fayez Sarofim, Alice and Keith Mosing, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Kelly Krohn Buchanan, Lori Sarofim, Grace Kim, Ed McMahon, Hershey Grace, Terrie Hogan, Sandy Barrett, Karen Bradshaw, Bill Baldwin and Fady Armanious, Donae Chramosta, Leisa Holland Nelson and Bob Bowman, David Lee, and DeeAnn Thigpen escorting Italian jewelry designer Massimo Palmiero.

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