Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Duchess of Windsor's Jewels to be Auctioned Again

By on Sunday, August 08, 2010 5 Comments

The Duchess of Windsor
Duchess of Windsor via Wikipedia
The jewels of Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor were first offered for sale back in 1987. All 306 pieces sold for $50 million which went to the Pasteur Institute. The proceeds from the spectacular sale remain a world record for an auction of a single owner jewelry collection. No wonder, as the collection celebrates the famous story of the king who gave up his throne for the woman he loved.

In November, 20 pieces will be available for auction again and no doubt will fetch millions. It's a fraction of the original auction but it does contain some memorable pieces which were commissioned to mark important events in the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's lives.

The Duke of Windsor was exceedingly fond of giving Wallis jewels at every occasion. He was very knowledgeable about gemstones and favored Cartier. He encouraged the work of Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier's High Jewelry Director.  One of her designs was this exquisite diamond, ruby, sapphire, citrine and emerald flamingo brooch. It was a 1940 Easter gift.

Also by the same designer is the onyx and diamond panther bracelet. It's considered one of the best of the Duchess' 3-D great cat bracelets. It is articulated and thus can be formed around the wrist.

This Cartier heart shaped emerald, ruby and diamond brooch was commissioned to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. It features their initials.

The nine gem-set Latin cross Cartier bracelet was one of the Duchess' favorite pieces. Each engraved cross marked special moments in her life from 1934-44.

The years 1940-44 were especially hard on them as they both hated his tenure as the Governor of the Bahamas. The British government forced it upon them as keeping them away from Europe lessened the damage the Duke (a Nazi sympathizer) could inflict on the British war effort.

Some of the crosses in the bracelet were in part Wallis' consolation for being stuck in what the Duke callously called "a third class British colony". The amethyst cross actually commemorated her operation to have her appendix removed!

Was it really a great romance?  You'll have to check my mini- bejeweled biography, the  Duchess of Windsor's Jewelry which is the story of Wallis Simpson and the King Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor.

Picture source

UPDATE : All the jewelry sold for twice the expected sum fetching $12.4 million in all.  

Romantic at heart? Then check out my other short biographies (the first one is one of my favorites):
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. One of the many things I like about your blog are the trips into jewelry history. I enjoyed this post and the link!

  2. It seems everything about the Duke and Duchess is fascinating! Just read your earlier post about her jewellery and their relationship as well. As usual, REALLY well done. I'm so glad you're out there pouring over all this information and bringing it to us. Without your blog, I would find them interesting, but would actually know so little about it. So... in a nutshell... You are awesome Pearl and I appreciate what you do here more with every post.

  3. I love that you teach us history as well as jewelry making. Brava!

  4. Thanks for all your kind comments. I'm glad so many enjoy the historical posts as much as I have reading and writing about them.

  5. They are happy couple.I always get moved reading their love story. How great the pure love is!