Fit for American royalty: Spectacular jewelry collection owned by President Eisenhower’s late granddaughter Anne fetches $11.5 MILLION at auction

  • Anne Eisenhower was a celebrated interior designer and philanthropist 
  • Her jewelry collection went under the hammer at Christie’s New York Tuesday
  • The lot of 31 pieces fetched a total of $11,521,260 

The spectacular jewelry collection that belonged to the late Anne Eisenhower —granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower — has fetched more than $11.5 million at auction. 

The impressive lot of 31 pieces went under the hammer at Christie’s New York on Tuesday, nearly a year after the death of the celebrated interior designer and philanthropist last July at the age of 73. 

Eisenhower’s one-of-a-kind personal collection featured bracelets, rings, necklaces, and a brooch from prominent jewelry houses, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston. 

The top lot was the iconic ‘Jarretière’ ruby and diamond bracelet that actress Marlene Dietrich acquired from Van Cleef & Arpels in 1937. It sold for $4,527,000.  

The late Anne Eisenhower’s personal collection of fine jewelry fetched more than $11.5 million after going under the hammer at Christie’s New York on Tuesday

The top lot was the iconic ‘Jarretière’ ruby and diamond bracelet that actress Marlene Dietrich acquired from Van Cleef & Arpels in 1937. It sold for $4,527,000

Eisenhower purchased Dietrich’s bracelet at auction in 1992 and enlisted Van Cleef & Arpels to make a complementary necklace and earrings (pictured) 

Dietrich wore the bracelet in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 murder mystery ‘Stage Fright’ and to the Academy Awards in 1951.

The stunning piece of Hollywood history went from one iconic collection to another when Eisenhower purchased it at auction in 1992. 

She enlisted Van Cleef & Arpels to make a complementary necklace and earrings, which were auctioned off for $1,184,400 and $176,400, respectively. 

Additional highlights included a rare Art Deco diamond and multi-gem ‘moonlight rose’ bracelet by Tiffany & Co. ($604,800), an Art Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier ($151,000), and a ring with an emerald-cut diamond of 20.54 carats ($1,159,200).

Lisa Hubbard, Christie’s jewelry senior adviser, shared a decades-long friendship with Eisenhower, and the two bonded over their love of fine jewels.

Hubbard remembered Eisenhower as being the sort of person that everyone noticed when she walked into a room, ‘not because she was over the top, but because she sailed in and was simply an elegant presence.’

Among the jewelry expert’s favorite pieces in the sale were the sapphire and diamond ‘waterfall’ necklace and earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels.

‘I’d not seen that pattern before, and they’re so flattering,’ she explained. ‘They show what good jewelry is all about.’

The Van Cleef & Arpels necklace and earrings (seen on Eisenhower at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on October 25, 1995) were auctioned off for $1,184,400 and $176,400, respectively

Eisenhower was the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower Mamie Doud Eisenhower. She and her brother, David, are pictured with their grandparents in London in 1962

In 1970, Prince Charles attended a formal dance at the White House with Tricia Nixon (next to him), and Anne, David, and Julie Eisenhower (left to right on the stairs)

Eisenhower (center) is pictured with her brother, David (left) and publisher Kip Forbes (right) at an event at Mortimer’s restaurant in New York City on October 28, 1986

As a tribute to the interior designer’s legacy, Christie’s launched a global tour of ‘The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower,’ which began in Los Angeles.

After stops in Shanghai, Paris, Taipei, Geneva, and Hong Kong, the tour ended in New York, where the full collection was sold in a live and online auction on July 7 during Christie’s Luxury Week.

Commenting on the glittering collection of treasures, Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas, said: ‘From Marlene Dietrich to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Anne Eisenhower Collection traces the history of the last century through a single collector’s brilliant passion for fine jewels.

‘Anne Eisenhower had a keen eye for the finest examples of the jeweler’s art, and her collection tells fascinating and interwoven stories of patrons and collectors.’

Meanwhile, Daphne Lingon, the head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas, mused: ‘Christie’s is truly honored to be entrusted with the Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower, a woman who led an extraordinary life of taste, style, and philanthropy, while remaining true to her values.

‘From exquisite designs by Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels to important gemstones, this auction presents a unique opportunity for collectors to obtain a jewel that was thoughtfully acquired over a 40-year period by a true tastemaker.’

Eisenhower’s family said the auction is an appropriate way of celebrating her life.

‘While these jewels are indeed breath-taking, my grandmother is the real gem that we are celebrating… and that we will celebrate always,’ her granddaughter Camila Mendoza told Christie’s 

Additional highlights in Eisenhower’s jewelry collection included a rare Art Deco diamond and multi-gem ‘moonlight rose’ bracelet by Tiffany & Co. that sold for $604,800

Designed as a panther, this brooch by Cartier featuring round and single-cut yellow diamonds, onyx plaques, and pear-shaped emeralds was auctioned off for $214,200 

A dazzling ring with an emerald-cut diamond of 20.54 carats sold for $1,159,200 (left), while an Art Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier went for $151,000 (right)

A show-stopping Van Cleef & Arpels platinum necklace featuring sapphires and diamonds was sold for $819,000

Born in West Point, New York, in 1949, Eisenhower was the daughter of military historian John Eisenhower and his wife Barbara (née Thompson).

She spent her early childhood in the White House while her grandfather served as the 34th President of the United States. 

As a teen, she met foreign dignitaries such as French President Charles de Gaulle and former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill while traveling abroad with her grandparents. 

Eisenhower started out working under New York design legend Dorothy Draper in the late 1970s before going on to found her eponymous firm, which specialized in traditional residential design.

In 1990, Architectural Digest named her one of the world’s top designers. That same year, she told the publication that her interior design style was ‘traditional, but for today’s living: comfortable, with a “lived-in” look; uncluttered without appearing austere.’

Eisenhower was also a philanthropist and served on the board of the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education for 25 years.

Her other charitable causes included the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the American Heart Association, and the Eisenhower family’s legacy work, among others.

Eisenhower is survived by her daughter Adriana Echavarria, her grandchildren Camila and Nico Mendoza, and her husband of 31 years, Wolfgang K. Flottl.

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