A Cartier Panther Hunts Down $7 Million at Sotheby's Jewelry Sale
Source:Artintern.net Date: 2010-12-03 Size:
In a turn of events that enthralled the international tabloids of the time, the former King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne in 1937 in order to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and the pair became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

 

LONDON— In a turn of events that enthralled the international tabloids of the time, the former King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne in 1937 in order to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and the pair became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. During their courtship and marriage, he showered gifts of jewels on the Duchess, and yesterday jewelry from her collection netted £8 million ($12.5 million) at Sotheby's, far beyond the presale estimate of £3 million ($4.6 million).

All 20 lots found buyers. The top lot, an onyx and diamond panther bracelet in a stalking pose designed by Jeanne Toussaint for Cartier, soared past its high estimate of £1.5 million ($2.3 million) to fetch £4.5 million ($7 million) including buyer's premium. This was a record for a bracelet sold at auction and also for a piece by Cartier, according to Sotheby's.

The top lots included another Jeanne Toussaint-designed piece, a flamingo brooch adorned with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, citrines, and diamonds that achieved a price of £1.7 million ($2.65 million). The Duchess's favorite piece of jewelry, a diamond bracelet with nine gem-set Latin crosses that are inscribed for special moments in the couple's life, fetched £601,250 ($937,000), handily surpassing its high estimate of £450,000 ($700,000). In 1935, the Duchess gave her husband an 18-carat gold cigarette case engraved with a map marked by enamel travel routes and gemstones for memorable locations. This piece performed within its £150,000-200,000 estimate when it sold for £181,250 ($282,500). All of these top lots went to telephone bidders, with the Cartier Collection in Paris snapping up the flamboyant flamingo.

Sotheby's sold the entire collection of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels in Geneva in 1987, the year after her death. The 306 lots then fetched a total of $50 million — still a world record for a single-owner jewelry collection sold at auction. The unidentified owner of the 20 lots sold yesterday purchased them at that time.

[Editor] Elemy Liu

    Artintern