Rare pink di­a­mond found in Mar­cos col­lec­tion

The Philippine Star - - US ISSUES GLOBAL TERROR ALERT - By JANVIC MA­TEO

A rare 25-carat, bar­rel-shaped pink di­a­mond has been found among the jew­elry col­lec­tion of for­mer first lady Imelda Mar­cos, Christie’s said yes­ter­day af­ter the gov­ern­ment asked the auc­tion house to ap­praise her col­lec­tion of rare stones.

The gov­ern­ment could de­cide to auc­tion the col­lec­tion af­ter Christie’s and ri­val Sotheby’s ap­praise three sets of jew­elry con­fis­cated al­most three decades ago af­ter the fall of Imelda’s hus­band, the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos.

“We had an ex­tremely ex­cit­ing find,” said David War­ren, di­rec­tor of jew­elry at Lon­don-based Christie’s. “We found an old brio­lette-cut di­a­mond, which

is 25 carats. It has a dis­tinct pink color. Pink di­a­monds are ex­ceed­ingly rare.”

He said the di­a­mond could be val­ued at $5 mil­lion and would sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the value of the en­tire col­lec­tion if the col­lec­tion is auc­tioned. The three sets in the col­lec­tion, com­posed of over 700 pieces of jew­elry, were val­ued at $6 mil­lion to $8 mil­lion in 1991.

Only three pure, vivid pink di­a­monds of more than 10 carats have ap­peared for sale in al­most 250 years of auc­tion history, ac­cord­ing to Christie’s.

A large cush­ion-shaped, pink-hued di­a­mond sold for $28.55 mil­lion at the Christie’s semi-an­nual jew­elry sale in Geneva on Nov. 10.

PCGG com­mis­sioner An­drew de Cas­tro said there were sev­eral jewels pre­vi­ously over­looked and not cor­rectly ap­praised.

For in­stance, the pink di­a­mond – a part of the so-called Hawaii Col­lec­tion – was only pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied as one of the “loose jewels” in the col­lec­tion and was not ap­praised separately. Other valu­able items might cost as much as $1 mil­lion per piece.

“But we have to wait for the fi­nal ap­praisal,” he stressed, not­ing that he could not give an ini­tial es­ti­mate of the to­tal worth of the three col­lec­tions as the ap­praisal is still on­go­ing.

“We ex­pect them to be higher now,” he said, not­ing changes in the val­u­a­tion in the past two decades.

On Mon­day, the PCGG and the Bureau of Cus­toms (BOC) be­gan the week­long ap­praisal of the three col­lec­tions stored at a vault in Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas (BSP) in Manila.

For­eign ex­perts from ac­claimed fine arts auc­tion houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s flew in to de­ter­mine the value of the col­lec­tions, com­posed mostly of dif­fer­ent kinds of jew­elry, as well as lux­ury bags and watches. Af­ter the ap­praisal by Christie’s, a team from Sotheby’s will have their turn.

PCGG chair­man Richard Amu­rao said the ap­praisal is a sig­nif­i­cant step to fi­nally as­sess the col­lec­tion and de­ter­mine its cur­rent value, and “that due to the vast quan­tity of jew­elry it will take at least five days” for teams to go over it.

“This will sig­nif­i­cantly open the way for de­ter­min­ing a fi­nal res­o­lu­tion on the said as­sets, in­clud­ing pos­si­ble auc­tion,” he added.

The PCGG said a fi­nal de­ci­sion re­quired the ap­proval of other agen­cies, and that the Mar­cos widow and chil­dren were still dis­put­ing the own­er­ship of part of the col­lec­tion be­fore the Supreme Court.

Imelda Mar­cos’ lawyer Robert Si­son said in a state­ment that own­er­ship of the jewels was still sub­ject to lit­i­ga­tion. He de­scribed the ap­praisal as a “very ob­vi­ous po­lit­i­cal stunt.”

The Mar­cos col­lec­tion, be­lieved to be part of the ill­got­ten wealth of the fam­ily of for­mer Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, is di­vided into three sets – the Hawaii, Roume­liotes and Mala­cañang col­lec­tions.

EDD GUMBAN/GMA News

A KING’S RAN­SOM: This di­a­mond-stud­ded neck­lace, seized by the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment from for­mer first lady Imelda Mar­cos, was pre­sented to the me­dia at the Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas of­fice in Manila yes­ter­day. Inset at right shows a 24.9-carat pink...

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