Shirley Temple's rare blue diamond ring fails to sell at auction

Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:03pm EDT
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(Reuters) - A 9.54-carat rare blue diamond ring once belonging to the late Shirley Temple, one of Hollywood's most famous child actors, failed to sell at a New York auction on Tuesday, where it had been estimated to fetch between $25 million and $35 million.

The Sotheby's auction for the Fancy Deep Blue Diamond ring, purchased by Temple's father for $7,210 in 1940 around the time of the actress' 12th birthday, opened bidding at $19 million and closed at $22 million, which was below the ring's reserve price.

"The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond is an exceptional stone in quality, rarity and provenance. It has been an honor to share its story with collectors, connoisseurs and Temple's loyal fans over the past few months," Sotheby's said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, tonight wasn't its night in the salesroom, but we remain fully confident that it will find a buyer." 

The ring was the highlight at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale, which fetched nearly $30 million across more than 300 lots.

Other top items at the auction included a platinum and fancy purple-pink diamond ring that sold for $4.5 million, a platinum and diamond ring weighing 19.25 carats that fetched $1.9 million and a fancy light blue diamond ring weighing 5.06 carats that sold for $1.2 million.

Temple won legions of fans as a bouncy, curly-haired young actress in 1930s movies such as "Bright Eyes," "Heidi" and "Curly Top." Under her married name, Shirley Temple Black, she forged a career as an ambassador and died at age 85 in 2014.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Fancy Deep Blue diamond ring, once owned by child star Shirley Temple, is displayed at Sotheby's in New York, March 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo