A yellow diamond ring that once belonged to the royal family of Hawaii sold for $519,500 at auction Sunday.
The old-mine-cut, 34.28-carat, fancy-light-yellow, VS2-clarity diamond ring, set in platinum and white gold, was the lead item at the Clars Auction Gallery sale in Oakland, California. It realized $15,155 per carat, according to Rapaport calculations.
The piece — with a high presale estimate of $600,000 — was originally bought by Hawaiian King Kalakaua for his wife, Queen Kapiolani, to wear to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations in England in 1887. In late 1890, the king traveled to San Francisco, where he used the ring as collateral for a gambling loan from Crocker Bank.
Kalakaua died during the trip, having never returned for the ring. Crocker Bank sold it to a Texas gem dealer at the turn of the century. In 1950, Frank Spenger, owner of the famous Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in California, purchased the ring, which he displayed in a special case at the restaurant’s Diamond Bar until October 2018, when it closed after 128 years in business.
The yellow diamond was sold as part of the Spenger Collection auction, along with other items, including fine art, furniture and historical items.
Image: The 34.28-carat yellow-diamond ring (top); King Kalakaua of Hawaii (right). (Clars Auction Gallery)