This week, Sotheby's sold the ruby ring that once belonged to Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924).
The cushion-shaped ruby ring weighs 8.66 carats. The ruby is flanked by single-cut diamonds weighing approximately .12 carat and is mounted in platinum. The ring sold for $2.098 million, including the buyer's premium. Its pre-sale estimate was $1 million to $1.5 million. The ring was sold as part of the Magnificent Jewels sale at Sotheby's, along with the collection of impressive jewels that belonged to philanthropist Patricia Kluge.
Gardner was a philanthropist and visionary patron of the arts whose personal collection of fine and decorative art is housed in her former home, now an esteemed Boston museum, called the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Gardner Museum, which is filled with paintings, sculpture, tapestries, furniture and decorative arts from cultures spanning thirty centuries, has remained essentially unchanged since her death in 1924.
Gardner was born to a prominent New York family and in 1860 married financier John 'Jack' Lowell Gardner of Boston. She was strong-minded and intellectually curious and enjoyed her reputation in Victorian era Boston for leading an avant-garde lifestyle. Gardner frequently traveled abroad to expand their knowledge of art as well as European and Asian cultures.