Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, but to many fans his spirit is very much alive – in his music, his movies and his truly distinctive style. The Heritage Auction closed the bidding Tuesday on a large caché of Elvis memorabilia, including more than a dozen pieces of stage-worn jewelry. Anyone viewing the collection would have to agree that Elvis was, indeed, the original "King of Bling" and an inspiration to a current generation of performers who love to flaunt their jewelry.
“Elvis was about bling before bling existed," Jay Gordon, the 25-year host of the syndicated Elvis radio show, "Elvis Only," told Forbes Magazine.
"He liked bright colors. He got that from black entertainers, from the black culture, in general," journalist Alana Nash told ABC News. The author of several books about Elvis said, "He liked anything flashy. He liked anything that made him stand out."
Among the Elvis-owned items auctioned on Tuesday were a number of rings, including ones featuring diamonds, turquoise, rubellite, citrine, sapphire and tiger's eye. The common thread linking them all was their "bling factor."
They seem to be especially oversized to be seen easily by Elvis' adoring fans, even the ones in the cheap seats. We also learned that Elvis was very fond of Native American jewelry.
The auction, which included 305 lots in all, took place at the historic Peabody Hotel in Elvis' home town of Memphis. Among the non-jewelry items were photos, posters, guns, police badges and even Elvis' library card from when he was a kid.
But it was the jewelry collection that seemed to get the most attention, according to Jim Steele, consignment director for Heritage Auctions, entertainment and music. He said that jewelry is particularly popular with collectors who seek a "connection" to Elvis. “Not only did he touch it, he wore it," Steele told Forbes. “A collector can wear his jewelry and make it their own and be constantly connected.”