The Annenberg Diamond, a perfect D color flawless gem of 32.01 carats, belonged to the late Leonore "Lee" Annenberg. Mrs. Annenberg was a passionate art collector and philanthropist who, along with her husband, The Honorable Walter H. Annenberg, entrusted billions of dollars to institutions devoted to education and the arts.
Mrs. Annenberg was the former U.S. chief of protocol during the Reagan administration, and served as chairwoman and president of the Annenberg Foundation. The late Ambassador Annenberg was a prominent newspaper publisher, broadcaster, diplomat, and philanthropist. He was a champion of public television and acquired many awards during his professional career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan and the Linus Pauling Medal for Humanitarianism. Under President Richard Nixon, he was appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James and was later made an honorary knight of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).
Over the years, the Annenberg Foundation has donated an estimated $4.2 billion to cultural, educational, and medical institutions. During their marriage, Ambassador Annenberg established the Annenberg Schools of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California, and gave generously to a number of schools, libraries, theaters, hospitals, and museums across the United States. In 1993, the Foundation donated $500 million to public education through the Annenberg Challenge for School Reform, one of the largest gifts in philanthropic history. In 2002, upon the death of Ambassador Annenberg, the couple's collection of French Impressionist art - valued at approximately $1 billion - was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where both Mr. and Mrs. Annenberg served as trustees. Beyond their remarkable generosity, the Annenbergs were well-known in social circles for their refined lifestyle and social prominence. Among the many illustrious friends and guests they entertained were former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the late President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby.
Mrs. Annenberg purchased her diamond as a gift to herself for her 90th birthday in 2007. She was very excited to buy a special Asscher-cut diamond and purchased it from David Webb, the renowned American jeweler, at their store in Beverly Hills, California. Due to its magnitude, it was delivered to her home by an entourage accompanied by armed guards. Mrs. Annenberg wore her diamond with great style and as often as she could and took tremendous pleasure when her friends would come by each time to admire this extraordinary gem.
Christie's is honored to present the Annenberg Diamond, a quintessential symbol of esteemed provenance and legendary beauty.
THE ANNENBERG DIAMOND