UPDATE: Nenetta Burton Carter’s Harry Winston jewels were sold for more than double their estimated value during the Magnificent Jewels auction at Sotheby’s on December 10. According to a Sotheby's spokesman, bidding for the pair of fancy light brown-pink diamond earclips reached $1.6 million — double the high estimate of $800,000. Bidding for the Morganite and diamond brooch reached $150,000 — more than double the high estimate of $70,000.
Legendary Fort Worth philanthropist Nenetta Burton Carter (1895-1983), wife of city benefactor Amon G. Carter, enjoyed a long and close friendship with famed jeweler Harry Winston, and now two of her prized pieces are going up for auction.
The jewels — a pair of earclips that feature a large, pear-shaped brown-pink diamond set with smaller diamonds, and a stunning Morganite and diamond brooch — were designed specifically by Winston for Mrs. Carter.
Both will be offered through Sotheby’s New York's upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction on December 10.
The earclips have an estimated value of $600,000 to $800,000. They are described in the auction catalog as "each suspending a pear-shaped Fancy Light Brown-Pink diamond weighing 12.41 and 11.15 carats, the tops set with marquise and pearshaped diamonds."
The brooch, described in the catalog as "set with a marquise-shaped morganite weighing 53.37 carats, framed with radiating pear-shaped diamonds," is valued at $50,000 to $70,000.
"Harry Winston created many jewels for Mrs. Carter over the course of their relationship, and [these pieces] are emblematic of both the House of Winston and the intertwined fortunes of Fort Worth and the Carter family," the catalog says.
And they are both in her favorite color — pink.
The legacy of Carter's friendship with Winston endures today.
One of Fort Worth’s most well-known fundraisers, she co-founded the Jewel Charity Ball (benefiting Cook Children’s Medical Center). As the Sotheby's catalog recounts:
"At the inaugural Ball in 1954, Harry Winston brought the famous Hope diamond as well as his own jewels from his ‘Court of Jewels’ exhibition tour to the historic Hotel Texas to offer to Fort Worth's elite. Debutantes modeled the jewelry and raffle tickets were sold for prizes, beginning traditions that continue to this day. Over the past 65 years the organization has raised more than $73 million."
Jewel Charity Ball remains the premier philanthropic event in Fort Worth. The next ball takes place February 29, 2020 at Dickies Arena.
The Magnificent Jewels auction is a live auction taking place in New York on December 10. In addition to in-person bids in the salesroom in New York, bids also may be placed by phone or online via Sothebys.com, a spokesman says.
Full instructions to bid can be found here. Carter’s pieces will be offered in session one at 10 am.