Imelda Marcos’ Jewellery Collection
Imelda Marcos’ Jewellery Collection was a large, private collection of valuable jewellery owned by former Filipino first lady, Imelda Marcos. Imelda Marcos
Imelda R. Marcos (1929-present) is a Filipino politician and wife of the former Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos.
Known for her extravagant style and taste, Marcos’ lifestyle as first lady of the Philippines stood in stark contrast to the extreme poverty of the country’s citizens.
During their reign, the Marcoses allegedly “used their power to amass private wealth, corruptly siphoning foreign aid, loans, and the profits of domestic companies into private bank accounts.”
They were forced into exile in 1986.
Mrs Marcos later returned to the Philippines and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995.
Mrs Marcos’ jewellery collection was extremely large. After she was exiled from the Philippines in 1986, it was broken up into three main collections: the Roumeloites, the Hawaii and the Malacanang.
The Roumeloites collection, described as “fabulous and remarkable”, is regarded as the most valuable of the seized jewellery of Mrs Marcos.
Highlights include a diamond necklace by Buccellati, weighing 93 carats, and a 30.76 carat diamond bangle bracelet from Bulgari, accompanied by a 1986 price tag $1,000,000.
Another notable piece is a diamond choker with 15.5 carat Colombian emeralds (75 carats in total) with the diamonds (weighing 50 carats in total) set in platinum.
Other highlights include a Persian-style necklace with more than 100 carats of canary and pink diamonds, and a diamond-studded bracelet with a 31-carat marquise centre-stone.
Grace Tan, of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, commented that she had “never seen stones like this in [her] life", claiming the collection contained “blue diamonds, yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, different sizes, different shapes, rubies, sapphires … really, really big”.
The Hawaii collection, consisting of 400 pieces, was seized by customs officials in the US state, and allegedly contained “gems the size of golf balls and suitcases full of pearls”.
The Malacanang collection was left by Marcos in the Philippine presidential palace. It is still the subject of litigation.
The Filipino Presidential Commission on Good Government was charged with “recovering the Marcos' alleged ill-gotten wealth”, which allegedly amounts to $10 billion.
The commission announced plans to auction the Marcos collection in late 2005.
However, legal wrangles, including objections from Marcos, delayed the sale.
Marcos, claiming that some the jewels were family heirlooms, sought to legally block the sale.
In 2010, Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stopped the sale of the collections, claiming that it was too late in her tenure as president to properly dispose of the confiscated jewellery.
It was noted by the Inquirer website that this was the 4th time a sale had been deferred by the Philippine government.
It has been estimated that any eventual auction of the collections could raise more than a 1996 valuation of $12-20m.