Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Glittering History

A Cartier ring with interesting provenance
Sotheby's is already promoting its October 7 jewellery sale, and while we can't even begin to afford any of these ultra luxury items, there was one that caught our eye.

It is a 13.19-carat emerald-cut light pink diamond ring by Cartier that is estimated to bring in HK$4.7 million-HK$6.3 million ($600,000-$800,000).

While a diamond like that is quite rare, it is its provenance that is very interesting. It was previously owned by Ji Ing Soong, the wife of banker TA Soong, sixth brother of the famous Soong sisters.

Ji Ing's grandmother gave her the ring. Ji Ing lived a colourful life, born in Shanghai in 1920 and had her early education there. She spent some time in Hong Kong, as she graduated from high school at the Hong Kong French Convent in 1940 and then went abroad to UC Berkeley to receive a BA in History in 1944, and then much later went back for a Masters in Asian Studies in 1972.

She married TA Soong in San Francisco in 1941 and had two sons, Ronald and Leo.

In her time in California, Soong worked with a lot of charitable organizations, such as the Red Cross and Special Olympics. She also established the TA and Ji Ing Soong Gallery at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

The ring of course is stunning, but it also carries with it a lot of history. If diamonds could speak..