Los Angeles, CA— John Moran Auctioneers is pleased to present the exquisite fine jewelry collection of one of Santa Barbara’s most prolific and best-known philanthropists, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree taking place on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 at 10:00am PST. Jewelry from the Estate of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree will offer 85 lots including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches and rings, featuring very fine gemstones including, large diamonds, sapphires, rubies, pearls, and emeralds—and some being from prominent jewelry designers including Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Tiffany & Co., Henry Dunay, and Boucheron.
Along with being recognized as a philanthropist, “Lady Leslie” was a highly successful businesswoman and well-known art connoisseur. Early in her career, she was the director of a community center on New York City’s Westside and is credited with establishing the first Head Start center. Later, she became President of Pacific Air Industries and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. In an advisory capacity, she was involved with the University of Santa Barbara as well as homeless organizations like Casa Esperanza, and her church, All Saint’s by the Sea. Leslie Ridley-Tree, widow of Lord Paul Ridley-Tree, was a collector of fine art from Monet and Durer through Picasso, Matisse, and Morisot. Influenced by her humble beginnings, world travel and passionate religious faith, Lady Leslie was passionate about bringing financial support to both individual and public needs. She and her husband regularly gave back to their community and generously supported dozens of nonprofit organizations and causes in the Santa Barbara area, many of which bear their name in recognition. During her lifetime, Lady Leslie established more than 120 scholarships at different educational institutions along with leaving a legacy of huge generosity to local Santa Barbara institutions such as SB Cottage Hospital and the SB Cancer Foundation. She shared her joy of life with her friends and “friends she hadn’t met yet” and felt that “For most of us, we have so much. How can we not give something back? Give something somewhere and give of ourselves; it’s not just money.” She will be most remembered, however, for brilliant red hair, a resilient spirit, and her impish good humor.
“Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree touched the lives of so many people through her generous gifts to dozens of charitable organizations and institutions,” said Jackie Carrera, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, which named her woman of the year in 2003. “She shared not only her resources but her heart, leaving a legacy of compassion for which Santa Barbara and the Central Coast will always be grateful.”
The main highlights of the sale are some of her most treasured pieces— A large pear-shaped diamond ring and a pair of diamond earrings. The diamond ring was designed with a 25.80cts. pear brilliant-cut diamond in a platinum setting and is 13.2 grams. Estimated $400,000-500,00, the GIA report on the ring states G color and SI2 clarity and is flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds totaling approximately 1.25cts in weight and graded G-H color and VS clarity. The pair of diamond stud earrings is set with two diamonds in 14k white gold and is 9.2 grams. The GIA reports state that the round brilliant-cut diamond weighs 10.07cts. and graded H color and VS2 clarity and the other is a round brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 10.22cts. and graded I color and SI1 clarity. These earrings are valued at $200,000-300,000.
One of the designers featured in the sale is Van Cleef & Arpels. Lot 15 will be a set of Van Cleef & Arpels cabochon sapphire and diamond jewelry including a three flat link necklace featuring a slide pendant centering a bezel set oval cabochon-cut sapphire gauged at 10.5mm x 8mm. The necklace is flanked on both sides by twelve baguette-cut diamonds and fifty-two round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 4.30cts. and graded F-G color and VS clarity. The pair of matching ear clips is centered with two oval cabochon-cut sapphires each gauged at 9mm x 7mm surrounded by a total of twelve baguette-cut and forty-two round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 3.75cts. and graded F-G color and VS clarity. This beautiful 3-piece set has an estimate of $12,000-15,000. The other Van Cleef piece is lot 20, a Van Cleef diamond bracelet, estimated $15,000-20,000. Having 18k yellow and white gold and set with sixty-nine round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 7.50cts. in weight and graded F-G color and VS clarity, this 102.2 gram bracelet is sure to be a favorite with collectors.
In addition to precious stones, Lady Leslie enjoyed jewelry made with mother-of-pearl. A Tiffany & Co. mother-of-pearl, diamond, yellow sapphire, and onyx bird brooch, 35.5 grams, will be lot 22 and is estimated $7,000-9,000. The brooch, made with 18k yellow gold, is set with one hundred and seven round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 3.75cts. in weight and graded F-G color and VVS clarity. It is also topped with twenty-eight round full-cut yellow sapphires weighting around 2.50cts. and further accented with a carved black onyx beak and two round ruby eyes.
Another coveted diamond piece is a pair of Boucheron flower drop diamond ear clips. Set in 18k white gold, the ear clip set is made with a total of eighty round full-cut diamonds totaling approximately 4.50cts. in weight and each graded F-G color and VS clarity. Lot 25, is 22.5 grams and has a $5,000-7,000 estimate.
Adding to the list of designers in the sale is David Webb, with lot 40, a rock crystal and lapis lazuli bracelet, valued $6,000-8,000. The 18k yellow gold bracelet is designed with three carved rock crystal links two circular carved round lapis lazuli links and topped with five carved teardrop shaped lapis lazuli stones gauged at approximately 12mm in diameter.
—Brenda Smith, John Moran Auctioneers
“One of the designers featured in the sale is Van Cleef & Arpels. Lot 15 will be a set of Van Cleef & Arpels cabochon sapphire and diamond jewelry including a three flat link necklace featuring a slide pendant centering a bezel set oval cabochon-cut sapphire gauged at 10.5mm x 8mm.”
John Moran Auctioneers will continue their 2023 lineup with the Art of the American West auction, Tuesday, March 14th, followed by the Jewelry from the Estate of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree sale, Wednesday, March 29th. Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming auctions so you don’t miss out on the action, and the treasures!
Art of the American West: Tuesday, March 14th | 10:00am PST
Jewelry from the Estate of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree: Wed., March 29th | 10:00am PST
Made in Mexico: Tuesday, April 4th | 12:00pm PST
California Living: Tuesday, April 11th | 10:00am PST
The Traditional Collector: Tuesday, April 25th | 12:00pm PST
For upcoming highlights, online catalogues, and more information on these sales, visit Moran’s website: www.johnmoran.com and follow us on social media: @johnmoranauctioneers. Along with our website, bidding is now available online via Moran’s new mobile app, Moran Mobile, available on both iOS and Android operating systems. You may also choose to bid by phone or absentee.
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