Asia Minute: “Hawaiʻi Collection” of Imelda Marcos Jewelry Heads for Auction

May 31, 2019

Imelda Marcos | 1973
Credit Liane777 / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Flickr

One of the world’s better-known jewelry collections may soon be going on sale. It’s a collection that has ties to Hawaiʻi – as well as a volatile period in part of the Asia Pacific.

If you’ve ever wanted to own some of Imelda Marcos’s jewelry, you may soon get your chance. A spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Dueterte says the government will be auctioning off millions of dollars of jewelry that once belonged to the former first lady of the country.

It’s called the “Hawaiʻi Collection” because it was seized when the Marcoses lived in Honolulu – after Ferdinand Marcos was driven from office as leader of the Philippines in 1986. Reuters reports the jewelry includes a rare 25-carat diamond in the shape of a barrel — which auction house Christie’s has valued at 5 million U.S. dollars.

The Philippines “Presidential Commission on Good Government” has wanted to sell the collection, with the proceeds going to the central government.

Imelda Marcos had challenged that in court, but Philippine news site Rappler.com reports an agreement has cleared the way for an auction.

The former first lady returned to the Philippines in 1991, and won election to congress three times — most recently in 2016.

In 2018, she was convicted of seven counts of graft, creating private foundations to hide money, and sentenced to 42 years in prison.

The charges were originally filed in 1991, and the 89-year-old Marcos is currently appealing her conviction.