A Tribute to Evelyn H. Lauder

Evelyn_LauderI wanted to write a blog post about a dear lady I was lucky enough to come to know: Evelyn Lauder, the visionary Founder and Chairman of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (established in 1993).

John and I have been proud to donate some of our gemstones in jewelry over the years to help raise money for Breast Cancer Research. That is how I met Evelyn Lauder—daughter-in-law of the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder—in my hometown of New York City. We quickly discovered we had many things in common, including a love of photography, and both of us had written several books—Evelyn’s “An Eye for Beauty” was my favorite.

Evelyn’s gentle kindness and inclusive spirit were appreciated so much.  During her lifetime she moved the research for Breast Cancer closer to a cure and after she left us she made sure she left a legacy that would help continue the progress of her vision.

Evelyn passed away in 2011 and I miss her often. Her passionate, single minded determination to stamp out breast cancer and to improve the health of countless women inspired so many. Her selfless dedication to her cause will live on in so many hearts, including mine.

Van-Cleef-Arpels-Fancy-Yellow-Diamond-Necklace-Lauder-SothebysIn November 2012, Sotheby’s announced that they would be auctioning the jewels from the collections of the late cosmetics mogul Estee Lauder and Evelyn Lauder. The news of such an auction quickly spread and the excitement grew. Not only would these fabulous pieces, some rich with provenance, be available for all to admire and bid on, but the entire amount of the proceeds would go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation! That made me smile and it seemed so perfectly Evelyn!

A 22.16 ct almost flawless diamond ring, a Ruby and Diamond Brooch belonged to Evelyn. A Fancy Yellow Diamond weighing 47.14 carats once belonged to the Duchess of Windsor who wore it as a ring. Estee Lauder had the heart shaped diamond reset into a pendant with a diamond necklace (pictured above). The collection toured Geneva, London and Los Angeles before the final auction in New York City.

A representative of Sotheby’s stated “ More than 35 pieces of jewelry from the Estee Lauder and Evelyn Lauder collections were sold at the “Magnificent Jewels” auction  at Sotheby’s on December 5th (2012) to benefit Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The auction raised $19.1 million, all of which is designated for the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder Fund. This gift increases the capacity and breadth of the fund and enables BCRF to expand its’ mission into longer term research. This newest gift bumps the Evelyn H. Lauder Founders Fund to $27 million. The first phase of research to be undertaken with the Fund will be to perform an extensive, international collaborative analysis of the molecular abnormalities in metastatic breast cancer in the context of defined treatments and outcomes, which has never before been conducted. Evelyn Lauder’s mission was to bring about prevention and cure for the disease: this Fund, in her memory, provides the means to fulfill her goal.”

In life she moved among us with grace and style. Evelyn took care of so many with her tireless efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. She helped many with her caring energy on a personal level as well. And in passing she made sure the fine jewelry she collected was passed on in the most meaningful of ways to the cause she most loved in life. I was blessed to know her. Thank you, Evelyn.

– Laura Ramsey


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