San Francisco

Stars, Stripes and Sparkle: Jewelry of George and Charlotte Shultz Up for Auction

The couple, known as American political royalty in San Francisco, amassed a small fortune's worth of jewelry, including rare Tiffany pieces and designs that feature precious stones in red, white and blue

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George and Charlotte Shultz were each among the political elite in their own right.

George advised presidents from Nixon to Bush, and served as President Reagan’s Secretary of State. Charlotte served 10 San Francisco mayors and three California governors as Chief of Protocol, welcoming foreign dignitaries and heads of state, and throwing black tie celebrations, victory parades and charitable balls dating back to Dianne Feinstein’s days as mayor.

Jonathan Bloom/NBC Bay Area
The auction team at Bonhams says George Shultz may have had this patriotic ring custom made for Charlotte shortly after they were married in 1997. It contains channel-set diamonds, rubies and sapphires, and it was among the jewelry Charlotte chose to wear when she had her portrait painted.

In fact, it was Feinstein who introduced the couple, both widowed, in the late 1990s. They were married at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in 1997, in what the New York Times called the social event of the season.

"The groomsmen were fighting over who would get to walk Nancy Reagan down the aisle," said Victoria Richardson, head of Bonhams San Francisco auction house.

Beyond their passion for public service, George and Charlotte shared a love for fine jewelry — especially American-made pieces, and those in patriotic colors. Together, they amassed hundreds of items, from everyday silver to diamond necklaces with six-figure price tags — much of it from Tiffany & Co.

Jonathan Bloom/NBC Bay Area
This diamond, turquoise and yellow barrel necklace designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. is one of only a few of its kind in the world according to jewelry experts at Bonhams. It's expected to sell for 0,000 to 0,000 at auction.

"George Shultz was a true patriot," Richardson said. "They could've chosen to collect something like a Cartier or a French brand, but they chose an all-American classic."

That jewelry is now up for auction, after George Shultz died last year at the age of 101, and Charlotte died just 10 months later at the age of 88. Their family hopes to find the right buyers for some of the rare Tiffany pieces, and historically-significant items like George’s official State Department cuff links.

Jonathan Bloom/NBC Bay Area
These official State Department cuff links, given to George Shultz while he was Secretary of State, will be one of the items up for auction. The team cataloguing the items hopes historically significant pieces like these can be sold to museums or other organizations that will put them on display.

"We're always hopeful that institutions such as the Smithsonian and other museums might like to buy these and put them on exhibit," Richardson said.

Bonhams is touring the collection around the world, including stops in London and Hong Kong, before selling the more than 200 individual pieces of jewelry at a May 23 auction in New York City.

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