The most beloved First Lady of Argentina was as well-known for her charitable endeavours as she was her glamorous image. Eva Perón (fondly referred to as Evita), the wife of the former Argentinian president Juan Perón was a charming beauty who created her own legacy. She rose from humble beginnings in the rural town of Los Toldos to become a recognized actress before finally meeting her future husband. Soon after, she established the Eva Perón foundation, which focused on helping the common people and provided services such as healthcare, education, and community development nationwide. Being very hands-on, she made many public appearances in the name of her charity and was always impeccably dressed; often in French couture, fur, and elaborate jewels.
One of Perón’s most memorable pieces has surfaced again to the public: the headliner at the upcoming October 15th Sale of Magnificent Jewels by Christie’s, the historic brooch depicting the Argentine flag. Featuring brilliant colorless and yellow diamonds and “mystery-set” blue sapphires, it was a custom designed piece for the first lady by the house of Van Cleef and Arpels. The last time it was seen in public was in April 1998, where it sold at auction for ten times its estimate at an astounding $992,500!
Another iconic piece worn in her 1947 official portrait (which was also used in Argentinian stamps in that era) is a Victorian-era diamond necklace set with eleven oval Burmese rubies. It was also sold at auction in 2003 at an estimate of about $200,000. What is unusual, according to experts, is that the entire necklace remained intact – it was common during the 19th century for important pieces of jewelry to be dismantled and remade.
Very recently, Spanish police have recovered a hoard of stolen jewels estimated at approximately $6 million euros. They organized a sting at the hotel the thieves were staying at in Milan, and they recovered a collection of rings, earrings and a fantastic diamond tiara believed to have been given to Perón by the Dutch royal family.
Much like her life, there is a lot of mystery of origin surrounding Perón’s many jewels, which may also be why some of her most treasured jewelry pieces have wound up at high-end international auctions, fetching record-breaking prices for fascinated jewelry collectors and historic collectors alike.