Sotheby's to sell Estee Lauder collection heart-shaped diamond

A heart-shaped yellow diamond that once belonged to the controversial Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, is one of many jewels from the collections of Estee and Evelyn Lauder to be sold at a Sotheby's auction next month.

The 47.14-carat heart-shaped fancy intense yellow diamond was worn by Wallis Simpson as a ring, but was re-set in a diamond pendant necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels for Estee Lauder in 1978. It has a pre-sale estimate of US$1.5 million to US$2 million.

Auction house Sotheby's said the 35 items, to be sold in New York on December 5, have an estimated pre-sale value of US$13 million.

The money raised from the sale of the items will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation that was established by Evelyn Lauder in 1993.

Estee Lauder founded the eponymously named fragrance and skincare products company. She died in 2004, while her daughter-in-law, Evelyn Lauder, died last year.

Estee Lauder, who was a close friend of the Duchess and Duke of Windsor, bought the diamond in the mid-1970s through the duchess' lawyer.

Meanwhile, among the other major items to be auctioned at the sale next month is a rare fancy intense pink diamond ring weighing 6.54 carats which has a pre-sale estimate of US$4 million-US$5 million.

The main jewelry pieces from the collection will be put on display in Geneva, London and Los Angeles this month. They will then go on display for four days from December 1 in New York leading up to the auction.