Hollywood’s Ice Age

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Back in Hollywood’s heyday, when glamour was part of the job description, leading ladies dripped with precious gems and 18-karat gold. Unlike some at this year’s Oscar ceremony who topped off a Gap T-shirt or Armani gown with borrowed rocks from Van Cleef & Arpels or Harry Winston, these ladies owned. So when the jewelry from the estates of four former Hollywood stars goes on the Christie’s auction block Oct. 3, more than diamonds and gold will be up for sale to the highest bidder. Along with the glittery goodies go memories of a town where tinsel did not refer to the stuff you hang on Christmas trees.

Among the 200 lots in the sale, 61 are from the estates of Ginger Rogers, Audrey Meadows, Gene Tierney and Dinah Shore. Included in those from Rogers is a pair of gold and diamond feather brooches designed by Los Angeles jeweler-to-the-stars Paul Flato. Looking at its intricate details--the stone-encrusted pieces have movable parts--you can almost imagine the elegant hoofer in satin and furs, sailing the dance floor in the arms of Fred Astaire. Other Rogers jewelry conjures up luxurious lunches at the Brown Derby and nights at the Trocadero: a gold and diamond fan-shaped brooch and matching earrings by Flato and a 7.06-carat, oval-cut diamond ring.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Sept. 29, 1996 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 29, 1996 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Page 4 Times Magazine Desk 1 inches; 18 words Type of Material: Correction
Style note: Ian Logan was the photographer for the Sept. 22 feature “Hollywood Ice.” The photo credit was inadvertently omitted.

A knockout of a diamond necklace--”impressive” notes the Christie’s catalog--once belonging to Audrey Meadows reminds us that Ralph Kramden’s spunky wife, who wore frumpy housedresses on “The Honeymooners,” was a glamour puss in real life. She often flaunted the bold designs of New York jeweler David Webb. Among those for sale is a hefty 18-karat gold and platinum bracelet studded with 11 cabochon rubies and marquise-cut diamonds.


Gene Tierney, best remembered for her society childhood , her role in the eerie “Laura” and her marriage to designer Oleg Cassini, wore jewels of icy perfection both on and off the screen. Among the Tierney trove at Christie’s are a pair of pave-set diamond leaf-shaped ear clips with matching brooches, plus a pair of pearl and diamond pendant earrings by Cartier. The standouts from Dinah Shore’s estate include a multi-strand cultured pearl and diamond clasp bracelet and a pair of cultured pearl and diamond ear clips by David Webb. Shore may have touted Chevrolets, but when it came to jewels, she had Cadillac taste.

Preview, Sept. 29-Oct.3, and auction, Oct. 3, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. For information, call Christies’ at 310-552-2546.