#23 - And You Thought All She Had Was A Bunch Of Shoes

Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 7:42 pm by LaLonde

In the year 1986 there were elections in the Philippines for the presidency. After claims of voter rigging and mass protest by the Filipino people the 20 year reign of the Marcos’s Ended. On February 25th 1986 Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos fled to the safety of the Hawaiian Islands.

I remember driving by the beachfront home where they were staying and the military presence with military weapons guarding the home.
Word got out that a treasure trove of Items was confiscated from the plane upon their arrival. Gold, cash, bank accounts, jewelry, cloths and shoes.
There were elaborate stories of the shoes from 1000 to 3000 pairs. That seemed to be what most people were focused on, after all, everyone has a few pairs of shoes. So it was unimaginable to think how someone could have thousands of pairs. But almost no one has 250,000 dollar pieces of jewelry, and that is what was found in Pamper's diaper boxes.

This is what I want to focus on.

I had a friend Walter he was a Gemologist like me and he was in his late 60’s. He was a close friend of the officials at the US customs in Honolulu. Over the years he had done a lot of work for them. Well he got the call to go view the Marcos jewelry and help give them an idea of just what was there. I think he got a little nervous because of his age and his eyesight failing. So he called me. I was in my early thirties and he said he wanted younger and fresh eyes to help him.

While sitting in a room in a government building we started looking, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I knew how to look at jewelry, this was the high caliber stuff. It was like looking at double barrel shotguns and someone handing you a Gatling gun. We looked at about 20 pieces and there was plenty more to look at, when the top custom official walked by and called Walter out. They talked and Walter came back and told me I had to leave, I asked why? He explained that this was too big of an international incident and the fewer people that knew about this the better. I spoke with Walter a few days later and he told me of the remaining jewels, UNBELIEVABLE!!

What was more unbelievable was when a list of the jewelry was printed in the newspaper later that month it had about 12 items and nothing like what I saw. I realized later that at the time the government really didn't know how to handle the situation and did what they thought best.

I’m sure they didn’t want to upset the Filipino people, and we needed our airbases and military installations in the Philippines. Now it is 32 years later, most of the players are gone. Imelda is 89 years old. I don’t think she would cause a fuss.

Now the jewelry is of public record and it was believed to exceed 30 - 100 million in 1991 dollars. In the group was a very rare 25 carat Vivid pink diamond. Only 3 diamonds of this quality over 10 carats has ever been to auction in the last 250 years of auction history. Forbes states Imelda is estimated to be worth 5 billion today. She made the statement "if you know what you are worth you are not worth much".

Written by Daniel J. LaLonde

© LaLonde Jewelers 2018