The MNY Spotlight

Meet Allie Fuller, Sotheby's Fine Jewels Cataloguer & Creator of the Instagram Account @alliesdiamonds

Meet this week's Tastemaker, Allie Fuller, immersed daily in the world of exquisite jewels. Her role as cataloguer involves exploring their history and unveiling the captivating tales of past women owners, which she shares on her instagram account @alliesdiamonds. We sat down with Allie at Sotheby's to hear these fascinating stories, try on dazzling gems, and glean her advice on starting a personal jewelry collection. Read on for more insights, and catch our conversation on Instagram!

Introduce yourself! 

Hi! My name is Allie Fuller and I’m a cataloguer in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s! I’m from Providence, Rhode Island and moved to New York right after college. I live on the Upper East Side and aside from my love of jewelry I love to play golf, pickleball, and take walks in Central Park.

Allie wears the Delilah Bow Sweater in Ivory and Syrah Skirt

You also run the instagram account @alliesdiamonds! Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got involved at Sotheby’s.

I started in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s five years ago and immediately fell in love with the rich history of jewelry. The act of cataloguing jewelry is very special to me, allowing me to engage with extraordinary pieces on a daily basis. Along with cataloguing and condition reporting each item slated for auction, my duties extend to authentication, arranging photography, and coordinating requisite gemological testing. My close proximity to these exquisite jewelry pieces fueled the idea to start @alliesdiamonds on Instagram. I wanted a platform to not only remember my favorite collections, but also to reach a wider network of people interested in learning and observing the craftsmanship and beauty of jewelry.

As a cataloguer, what steps do you take to authenticate a piece of jewelry?

In my role as a cataloguer, the authentication process for a piece of jewelry is a meticulous sequence designed to ensure the veracity and provenance of each item. The multifaceted procedure involves a comprehensive examination of various aspects including provenance research, material analysis and scientific testing, researching hallmarks and maker’s marks, and a stylistic evaluation. In addition to the physical examination, we will review accompanying documentation, certificates, or appraisals to ensure consistency and accuracy with the observed characteristics of the jewel.

When you conduct your research, do you learn about the lives of the women who own(ed) this jewelry? If so, are there any interesting stories that you’ve learned that you could share?

Researching the provenance of a particular piece of jewelry or collection stands as one of the most exciting facets of the cataloguing process. This season, we are honored to be selling Jewels from the Collection of Mary Tyler Moore Sold to Benefit the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative. Each piece within this collection serves as a poignant chapter, narrating specific moments in her remarkable life. Among the highlights is a Gold, Ancient Coin, Ruby and Diamond 'Monete' Necklace (Lot 128) by Bulgari, a cherished wedding gift from her husband in 1983. The two visited the Bulgari store on 5th Avenue and chose the Greek coin together after a trip to Egypt and Israel earlier that year. Equally noteworthy is her Diamond Ring (Lot 549) featured in Fine Jewels, worn by Mary Tyler Moore when she won her last (and 7th) Emmy in 1993. I was able to learn so much about her extraordinary life and impact through her collection of jewelry.

This may be impossible to answer, but... Can you choose a favorite piece of fine jewelry that you’ve cataloged since you’ve been at Sotheby’s? What made it extra special? 

This is actually very easy for me to answer. This past June we sold the most incredible Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond called the Eternal Pink, which was the most significant pink diamond to ever appear at auction. Pink is my favorite color, and I immediately fell in love with this stone when I saw it. Of all the existing grades of color, “Fancy Vivid” is the highest possible for a colored diamond. The modifying color of purple made the stone the most charming and vibrant feminine “bubblegum” pink color. Weighing an astonishing 10.57 carats, with Internally Flawless clarity, this stone achieved the highest price per carat for this color grade, at about $3.3 million, selling for $34.8 million, it was truly a special gem!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their jewelry collection?

Buy what you love! I tell this to all of my friends, but wear jewelry that you love and what makes you happy, not just what is trendy. I also always recommend looking for high quality. Jewelry that has great craftsmanship, high quality metals and exceptional stones will always have value.

When researching a particular piece, how do you discover its narrative and significance in history/culture?

A lot of the jewelry we sell has family lore and has been passed down through generations. Sometimes it is just the oral history of a piece that tells us the significance. Last December we had a 5.27 carat emerald that was recovered from the wreck of the Atocha, which sank off the coast of Florida in the 1600s. The consignor’s husband funded the search for the lost ship, and when it was discovered in 1985, the ship contained over 70 pounds of rough-cut Colombian emeralds. We were able to offer the ring on behalf of the consignor to be sold at auction and to benefit humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and the ring achieved an astonishing $1.2 million against an estimate of $50,000-70,000, largely due it’s cultural significance rather than the intrinsic value of the gem. This was one piece that was very special to catalogue. For pieces that don’t necessarily have significance in history, we have an extensive library of books for research that we use when we have designs by notable makers that we reference for circa dating and cultural significance.

Read more about this incredible ring here!

Let’s play a game of this or that:
Statement necklace or delicate pendants: Statement necklaces
Diamonds or pearls: Diamonds
Vintage or contemporary: Vintage
Emeralds or sapphires: Emeralds
Art deco or Art nouveau: Art deco

What draws you to the Mestiza brand?

I love the feminine and whimsical details, such as bows and flowers, while still being modern and sophisticated.

How does wearing your Mestiza piece make you feel?
I feel great when slipping into a Mestiza skirt and knit sweater, like the one I’m wearing today! The silhouette is tailored to perfection which makes me feel polished, but the bold embellishments and shine feel flirty and perfect for a holiday cocktail party!

More Posts

1 comment

  • Author image
    Julie Stuart: May 07, 2024

    Allie, you have a fascinating job!
    I grew up watching MTM, and like so many, I was crushed when she passed.
    I’ve always admired her sense of style throughout the many eras of her career. As a fan of MTM and a jewelry enthusiast, It was so interesting to discover some of the history behind each piece as narrative to the timeline of her storied life. I was wondering if Allie would be able to share the name of the designer MTM worked with to create her beautiful yellow gold band set with the emerald cut diamond, and if she knew the year it was made?

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing