Rare 34.28-carat Fancy Light Yellow Diamond Ring from the Historic Spenger Collection to be Offered at Clars February 17th Sale
Oakland, CA – On Sunday, February 17th, Clars Auction Gallery will present a very rare and extraordinary 34.28 carat fancy light yellow old mine cut diamond and platinum ring, VS2 (GIA), as part of their Fine Art, Decorative Arts, Asian Antiques and Jewelry sale. The ring comes to the sale from the historic Spenger Collection of the San Francisco Bay Area. Frank Spenger founded Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in 1890 and, for over 125 years, it reigned as one of the most popular and successful restaurants in the Bay Area and the country overall. (Please see history below)
Frank Spenger acquired this diamond ring in 1950 and, for years, carried it in a specially tailored pocket to show to his patrons. Following his passing, the ring resided in a special viewing case in the Diamond Bar of the restaurant. The history surrounding this rare diamond is almost as rich as the ring itself. Several people have spent years researching its provenance which is believed to date back to King Kalakaua of Hawaii. In preparation for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in England in 1887, it is believed that the King purchased this ring for Queen Kapiolani to wear to this auspicious event. He reportedly purchased this ring from an Australian diamond merchant who was also the Charge d’Affairs for Australia in London at the time. (It is also believed that King Kalakaua purchased a second similar ring for Princess Lili`uokalani to wear to the event – this ring has never surfaced). Upon their return to Hawaii, it is believed that the ring was kept quiet by the now-deposed Royal Hawaiian family due its value and political climate at the time.
In late 1890, King Kalakaua traveled to San Francisco bringing the ring with him. He was a renowned gambler and upon his arrival, went to Crocker Bank in San Francisco, where he took out a loan on the diamond ring. On his journey to Southern California to Santa Anita Racetrack, he contracted pleurisy and was returned to San Francisco where he passed away in January 1891. The ring remained held at Crocker Bank.
After the required seven-year waiting period, Crocker Bank released this ring for private sale at which time a gem dealer in Texas purchased the ring. He held this ring until 1950 when it was sold privately and Frank Spenger acquired it. While much of the history prior to Crocker Bank is assumed based on research by experts, the fact remains that it is one of only a handful of diamonds in the world of this size and quality, regardless of its somewhat mysterious history.
Preview of this ring is available by appointment only. For more information and to schedule a preview, please contact Claire Peña, Director of Jewelry and Timepieces at Clars. (510-428-0100, ext. 104).
This ring will be offered with an estimate of $400,000 – $600,000.
Clars February 17th, 2019 sale will begin promptly at 9:30 am. A complete online catalog will be available 10 days prior to the sale. For more information, please visit www.clars.com or email [email protected]
Bidding for Clars’ auctions is available in person, by phone, absentee and live online at Live.Clars.com.
Clars Auction Gallery is based in Oakland (CA) and is the largest full service auction gallery in the Western United States. Clars Auction Gallery has been the chosen auction gallery of a number of institutions and distinguished private collectors across the country including the Richard Mellon Scaife Estate, the Thomas J. Perkins Estate and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC).
In the last 5 years, Clars Auction Gallery has sold over $105,000,000 of Fine Art, Furnishings, Jewelry, Vehicles and Collectibles and has set multiple new world auction records. Follow Clars on Facebook and Twitter!
Spenger’s was founded by Johann Spenger who emigrated to California from Bavaria in 1860 and worked as a hook and line fisherman on Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Beginning as just a clam stand in the 1890s, Johann’s son Frank expanded the “stand” to a full restaurant in the 1930s. Since then, celebrities and locals alike packed the restaurant daily. By the 1950s, the restaurant was serving 3,500 pounds of fish each day, more than any restaurant west of the Mississippi. In the 1980s, it was serving 3,000 meals each day, staffed by 240 employees and had grown to be the fourth busiest restaurant in the country.