Two pieces of jewelry once owned by Elvis Presley have made their way into an Atlanta jeweler’s vault.
The items include a 4.5 carat tourmaline ring with 4 carats of diamonds, and an 81-gram gold bracelet adorned with diamonds. The story of their origin and how they ended up in Atlanta is a tale fit for a King.
Lamar Fike, a member of Elvis’ entourage known as the “Memphis Mafia,” had possession of the ring and bracelet before Presley died. A local businessman ended up with them several years ago as a result of a business transaction with Fike, who died last year. The businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has enlisted Buckhead jeweler Jonathan Shapero to appraise and then sell the jewelry.
“Private jewelers do not get a lot of famous people’s stuff. It’s really rare,” said Shapero, who estimates the ring could fetch up to $30,000 and the bracelet up to $20,000. “It becomes a great opportunity for someone to get something that belonged to Elvis.”
Fike, who died at age 75, was a longtime member of Presley’s inner circle, serving as a lighting director and bodyguard and was a close friend, according to a news obituary by the Associated Press published after his death in January 2011. This article by the Independent reports that it was Fike who introduced Elvis and Priscilla Presley.
Handwritten letters on Fike’s personal stationery tell the stories of the gems. The ring was created by a Las Vegas jeweler in 1970 and Elvis wore it during a show, but the huge piece threatened to slip off (or walk off), Fike wrote in a letter addressed “to whom it may concern.”
“Someone tried to pull it off of his finger when they were trying to grab his hand,” Fike said. His friend gave him the ring for safe keeping, and then for good.
“He told me to keep it,” Fike wrote. “Elvis often did this for his friends.”
In another letter Fike wrote that he bought the bracelet for Elvis. It’s a custom piece created to commemorate the singer’s “Circle G” ranch. “This bracelet is one-of-a-kind,” Fike wrote. “There are no others around.” Inside it is engraved, “It’s yours. L.R.F.” Again, Elvis gave the bracelet to his friend to keep for him, and never retrieved it.
“This kind of provenance is great,” said Shapero, who maintains a shop in Buckhead and mans a booth at the monthly Scott Antiques Show; he hasn’t decided if he’ll bring the King’s bling to this month’s show coming up this weekend. “I’ve gotten a lot of stuff that’s supposed to have belonged to someone, but I can’t advertise it without written provenance.”
He has a diamond bracelet said to have been worn by Marilyn Monroe, for example, although without definitive proof does not advertise it as such. But that’s another story.