The true love story from 1936, between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, who gave up his throne after only reigning for 11 months has been marked in many creations from Van Cleef & Arpels, French renowned jewelry house. Their love, condemned by the Royal family because of Wallis Simpson’s divorcee status, was deemed a scandal and lasted unbelievable 35 years.
During their 35 years together, the Duke never missed an opportunity to offer pieces of jewelry to his wife, the Duchess of Windsor. Van Cleef & Arpels was the place where the Prince of Wales commissioned the sapphire-and-diamond clip and bracelet for Wallis Simpson, which she wore to set off her blue satin Mainbocher wedding gown. Now, The Duchess of Windsor jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels goes under the hammer at Bonhams Hongkong on 23rd November, as part of the sale entitled “Eight Exceptional Jewels from a Private Collection.”
With its enviable history of jewelery craftsmanship, which last from 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels, can boasts with many creations that have graced many famous people, such as John F. Kennedy, the Prince of Wales, Madame Hélène Beaumont and Elizabeth Taylor.
A magnificent ruby and diamond strap bracelet is estimated to sell for a price between $454,000 and $544,000. Made in 1936, this bracelet, set with 107 carats of fine-quality rubies was once in the collection of glamorous philanthropist and leader of pre-WW2 French Riviera society, Madame Hélène Beaumont. This piece of jewelery is remarkable for its outstanding supple and ribbon-like craftsmanship.
An important emerald and diamond necklace/choker/bracelet combination with an estimated price between $1,024,000 to $1,536,000, is made of 22 precisely matched emeralds, weighing 47 carats, and 412 diamonds with a total weight of more than 70 carats. Between 1959 and 1961, twenty-two perfectly matched emeralds were sought by Van Cleef & Arpels to make this necklace which was last seen at auction in 1975, fetching $1,056,215.
An exceptional sapphire and diamond ring, estimated between $560,000 to $672,000, actually demonstrates the jeweller’s expertise in sourcing stones of extraordinary depth and quality. In 1969, Jacques Arpels travelled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in person to acquire a 43.16 carat sapphire, a perfectly crystalline, flawless stone that was subsequently mounted in a ring and flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds.