Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple’s blue diamond ring fails to sell

Shirley Temple’s rare blue diamond ring has failed to sell at a New York auction.

Sotheby’s opened bidding for the 9.54-carat “Fancy Deep Blue” at $19m (£13m) and closed at $22m (£15m), which was below the ring’s reserve price.

It had been estimated to be worth up to $35m (£24m).

Temple, who made her screen debut aged three, was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1930s. She died in 2014 at the age of 85.

The ring was bought by the actress’s father for $7,210 (£5,016) in 1940, around the time of her 12th birthday.

It was being auctioned by a private seller who bought it from her estate.

Despite the item failing to sell, Sotheby’s said it remained “fully confident” it would find a buyer.

“Unfortunately, tonight wasn’t its night in the salesroom,” it said. “The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond is an exceptional stone in quality, rarity and provenance. It has been an honour to share its story with collectors, connoisseurs and Temple’s loyal fans over the past few months.”

The actress’s films were credited with boosting American morale during the Depression and keeping her studio, 20th Century Fox, from going under.

But she failed to make the transition from child star to adult roles and after leaving the world of entertainment she reinvented herself as a politician.

She went on to be a US representative to the United Nations and the first woman to be US chief of protocol, during Gerald Ford’s administration.

She also served as US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia in the final year of the Cold War.

Shirley Temple Black raises her hand at the United Nations as she is sworn in as a U.N. delegate in September 1969.


By Anthony DeMarco

Blues, reds and other statement colored gems continue to be in demand at the major auction houses this season and the upcoming sales in New York this week by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams will be presenting plenty of colorful stones to meet this desire.

The most anticipated lot is the 9.54-carat Shirley Temple Blue Diamond that will be placed on the block Tuesday at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale. The Fancy Deep Blue, Potentially Internally Flawless, VVS2 clarity diamond ring was owned by the child actress and American diplomat throughout her life. It has an estimate of $25 – $35 million.

The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was digitally altered and retouched at request of Sotheby's) Sotheby's Diamond Ring Still Life at Sotheby's on March 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby's)Her father purchased the ring in early 1940 around the time of her 12th birthday for $7,210.

The auction of more than 300 pieces also has other colorful delights, including a platinum ring set with a 12.45-carat cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Purplish Pink diamond with an estimate of $3 – $5 million; and a 30.81-carat pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond with an estimate of $1 – $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale on Wednesday will feature a platinum and 18k gold ring by Verdura set with a 15.99-carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby as its top lot. The gem, known as the Jubilee Ruby, is surrounded by circular-cut diamonds and polished gold. The American Gemological Laboratories in its report said classifies the ruby’s origin as Burma (Myanmar), with no evidence of heat treatment. Its estimate is $12 – $15 million.

Christies Jubilee Ruby

The Jubilee Ruby

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“Top quality Burmese rubies of over 15 carats are an absolute rarity in the world of colored gemstones,” said Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International head of Jewelry.

Other statement colored gems among the more than 250 lots on sale include a 10.07-carat Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond ring with an estimate of $8 – $12 million; and a 54.62-carat rectangular modified cut Fancy Vivid yellow diamond with an estimate of $1.5 – $2.5 million.

Shirley Temple Black (born Shirley Temple; April 23, 1928 – February 11, 2014) was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and former U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1976-1977.

She began her film career in 1932 at the age of three, and in 1934, found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents.

She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s.

Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence, and she left the film industry in her teens.

She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid-to-late teens, and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row (1935–38) in a Motion Picture Herald poll.

Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress, and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star. Temple is the recipient of awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

She is No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest female American screen legends of all time.

Shirley Temple was born on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California. She is the daughter of Gertrude Amelia Temple (née Krieger), a homemaker, and George Francis Temple, a bank employee. The family was of English, German, and Dutch ancestry.

She had two brothers, George Francis, Jr. and John Stanley. Mrs. Temple encouraged her infant daughter’s singing, dancing, and acting talents, and in September 1931 enrolled her in Meglin’s Dance School in Los Angeles.  About this time, she began styling Shirley’s hair in ringlets similar to those of silent film star Mary Pickford.

In January 1932, Temple was signed by Educational Pictures following a talent search at the dance school. She appeared in a series of one-reelers called Baby Burlesks,and a series of two-reelers called Frolics of Youth playing Mary Lou Rogers, a youngster in a contemporary suburban family.  To underwrite production costs at Educational, Temple and her child co-stars modeled for breakfast cereals and other products.  She was loaned to Tower Productions for a small role in her first feature film (Red-Haired Alibi) in 1932 and, in 1933, to Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. for various bit parts.

EXCLUSIVE: Shirley Temple’s bitter ex-husband tried to sabotage her political career when she was nominated as ambassador to UN – and Ronald Reagan had to ride to her rescue, secret FBI files reveal

  • Former child star was nominated for the office by Richard Nixon in 1969 and the FBI was called in to check she was suitable
  • File reveals agents went to huge lengths to question those who knew her about her – Republican – political views and those of husband Charles Black
  • Her first husband John Agar told agents she was ‘untrustworthy’ – unlike then-California Governor Reagan who strongly backed her
  • Temple died in February 2014 aged 85 and her 417-page FBI file was obtained by Daily Mail Online under Freedom of Information Act rules 

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