Lot Essay Every curator, dealer and auctioneer who has met Gloria Manney called her “one of a kind” or said, “they don’t make ‘em like her anymore.” She was a voracious collector with a style, intelligence, curiosity, courage and point of view all her own.
Along with her husband, Richard Manney, they researched and collected an amazing array of material culture and built entire markets for objects by aiding scholars in their work, including rare books and 18th and 19th Century fine and decorative arts. Their collections included the greatest assemblages of American portrait miniatures and American colonial goldsmithing, both now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their furniture resides at Winterthur, The Met and The Art Institute of Chicago.
But above all the objects in their lives, jewelry was Gloria’s first and foremost passion from childhood, but especially collecting opals. They were her birthstone, her playthings, and her favorite adornment. No opal passed her by, as she believed every opal needed a home. A magpie by nature, their beauty entranced her. Gloria worked with dealers and auctioneers around the world to find great jewels but especially opals. And the opals found her.