Jewellery from U.S. broadcaster Barbara Walters heads to Bonhams New York

Art. 501

The trailblazing broadcaster’s impressive $8 million estate includes a significant 120-piece jewelry collection 

Bespoke JAR jewels and Harry Winston 13.84 carat diamond ring

Bonhams announces the sale of Barbara Walters: American Icon on November 6, 2023, in New York. The trailblazing broadcaster’s impressive $8 million estate includes a significant 120-piece jewelry collection worn by Barbara at red-carpet appearances and while interviewing a plethora of stars during her illustrious career.

Barbara Walters (1929-2022) reshaped the media landscape and broke barriers for women in journalism as the first female co-host of a U.S. network news program (on NBC’s “Today” show) and the first female network news anchor (on ABC Evening News). Walters was also a sophisticated collector, and her home on the Upper East Side was filled with important American art, furniture, and decorative items that reminded her of her travels around the world. The Barbara Walters: American Icon sale will offer a collection of over 300 lots of fine art, works of art and objet d’art, in addition to jewelry. A committed philanthropist, the net proceeds from the sale will benefit charities dear to Walters.  

Jean Ghika, Bonhams Global Head of Jewelry, said, “Jewelry was incredibly special to Barbara Walters, and her collection included everything one could want in a jewelry collection: exceptional designs from renowned jewelry houses including JAR, as well as pieces from many American designers such as Harry Winston, Angela Cummings, and Seaman Schepps. Walters clearly had a genuine love for jewelry and it reflected a large part of her identity, acting as a form of armor and feminine adornment in a male dominated world. She lovingly wore all of her pieces regularly, both privately and in her professional capacity where she used the language of jewelry as a signifier. Her jewels of choice were big, bold, and audacious, which suited her personality. She wasn’t afraid to mix costume pieces with real gemstones – it wasn’t about value but the style and look, reminiscent of Coco Chanel’s ethos. For Barbara Walters, jewelry made her feel dressed.”

One of the star lots of the jewelry collection is Walters’ Harry Winston platinum diamond ring, an engagement present from Merv Adelson. The design features an emerald-cut diamond of D color, VVS2 clarity, weighing 13.84 carats, flanked by trilliant-cut diamonds weighing 1.46 carats. The showstopping ring was worn by Barbara Walters to many events including one in 1985 to honor the American GI liberators of World War II at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

October 20 2023