I think one of the most freely giving famous people of jewelry gifts I ever heard about or read about was Elvis Presley. He would visit the sick people, not just people in his own family or friends, but people he did not know personally and often were people that were dying, children and adults who requested to see him. While in the visit he often gave them very expensive jewelry pieces.
One of his regular staff members was Lowel Hayes. Mr. Hayes remembers a time that Elvis was in concert and called him up to the stage asking for a case of his jewelry. Elvis began taking pieces of jewelry out of his personal stash and just randomly handing it out to the women in the audience.
The next time you look at concert photos of Elvis in his jumpsuits, check out his fingers. You will note that he usually has three or four rings on each hand. Elvis must have really loved rings, but he was also very generous with them and gave many away. Because of that, quite a few have ultimately ended up at rock and roll memorabilia auctions. During the past three years alone, thirteen Elvis rings have been offered at ten different auctions.
Elvis had an amazing collection of jewelry, very expensive jewelry. He shared what he had though with all kinds of people, his friends, family, fans and strangers. Anyone who has ever read stories about Elvis will always come across stories about his amazing generosity. One night at a Las Vegas Hilton show while Elvis was Mary Pride’s office who was just an ordinary Hilton staff member, Mary happened to make a comment about the ring Elvis was wearing. I am certain it must have been amazing. If you will notice Elvis in his Vegas concerts on video now you will see he usually wore at least 3 rings on his fingers. I honestly do not see how in this world he functioned with so much weight hanging onto his body with the heavy jumpsuits and all that heavy jewelry. When Mary Pride made her comment about this one ring in particular Elvis just pulled it off his finger and gave it to her on the spot. I often think who probably felt the greatest thrill during that act of generosity? Elvis was probably just as thrilled to give it as Mary was to receive it. Elvis was one of a kind for sure. In a jewelry auction held by Graceland staff she provided the ring and a letter of authenticity, which was a photo of Elvis wearing the ring. The ring brought close to $8,000. No wonder Elvis was broke at the time of his death! But you know why not spend it while you have it and Elvis shared his wealth with everyone around him in any way he could. He sure did love jewelry.
Elvis owned a Diamond Owl Ring that sold at one of the first auctions held after his death. Its owner sold the ring at the auction for over $44,000. As most of Elvis’s Jewelry was custom made, the Diamond Owl Ring was not an exception to the rule being filled with diamonds and 14KT gold. The ring was sold with an 8 X 10 color photo of Elvis with Lisa on his knee while he wore the ring. Sounds like something Elvis would have absolutely adored knowing had happened to one of his favorite rings.
Another fabulous ring sold for over $28,000 in a summer auction of 2009. It was Elvis’s “Green Cat’s Eye Ring.” A stunning Blue Lapis ring was given to his personal physician, Dr. Nick that when sold at auction brought over $33,000. It was a gold, diamond and lapis stone ring.
I think Elvis must have a ring of every stone he ever saw, and most likely he bought every ring of every stone he saw. He had a crystal opal ring that was a massive 14KT gold vintage ring. About 1.25ct of diamonds surrounded the crystal opal. It must have been one of his favorite rings. He wore often and is seen wearing it in many different photos both on stage and off stage. This particular ring was sold at auction bringing over $20,000. Each time I see all the rings Elvis wore on and off stage, I say to myself, how in this world did he stand all that on his fingers. They had to have been extremely heavy to wear. One thing about it though he was always equipped to give a gift of a ring. He didn’t have to dig too far into his stashes of rings because he wore as many as he could at all times. And you know, this may have been part of the reason he did, just so he could pull them off at any time and give them away on the spur of the moment.
I am not for certain, but judging by all the rings he wore, rings in particular may have been one of his favorite type of jewelry pieces. I suppose we all got our favorites. My favorite type of jewelry at the moment is dangle earrings. I actually don’t think I could like even the more expensive diamonds, rubies or pearls more than what I create now. Of course, if I had the money Elvis had, I would be using much more expensive jewels in my handmade projects. Yet, I still love exactly what I am able to afford. I intend to make some beaded bracelets and necklaces (matching sets of beaded necklace, bracelets and earrings).
But….just a little bit today, 8-27-14 about some of the favorite jewelry pieces Elvis owned and examples of his generous giving spirit. Elvis was a one of a kind guy a lot of people will never forget. How could we? His possessions are all over the place. He was a collector for sure.