MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is appraising the dazzling jewelry collection seized three decades ago from Imelda Marcos, the former first lady famous for her massive stash of shoes, as it decides what to do with the jewels one expert compared to those owned by royalty.
The jewelry was seized when dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii in 1986 after a popular revolt that ended his two decades in power. The pieces include a barrel-shaped diamond worth at least $5 million and a Cartier diamond tiara likely multiple times more valuable than the previous estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
The Marcos family allegedly amassed billions of dollars’ worth of ill-gotten wealth, and the dictator’s widow, now 86 and a member of Congress, became known for excesses, symbolized by her huge shoe collection and staggering jewelry.
The jewelry collection, three sets seized in various locations, was valued at $5 million to $7 million when it was last appraised in 1988 and 1991.
But it is likely to have significantly risen in value, Andrew de Castro, of the presidential commission tasked to recover the wealth, said Tuesday.