Marjorie Merriweather Post's father, C.W. Post, was not a wealthy man in 1887, the year Ms. Post was born. However, in 1895, C.W. Post began marketing a caffeine-free coffee substitute called Postum, followed in 1898 by a breakfast cereal called Grape-Nuts. These two products made C.W. Post a very rich man. When he died in 1914, Ms. Post inherited a fortune which made her, at age 27, one of the richest women in the world.
Ms. Post enjoyed her wealth with great spirit. She formed important collections of decorative arts and jewelry while providing generously for such charities and institutions as the Boy Scouts of America, the National Symphony, the Kennedy Center, Mount Vernon College, C.W. Post College, and hospitals all over the East.
Ms. Post's jewelry included pieces formerly in royal collections and magnificent gems whose size would make them important additions to any nation's crown jewels. Indeed, some of her jewels are now in the Smithsonian Institution, where many of the most prized jewels in America are housed. Several of Ms. Post's gems are among the most notable jewels in the Smithsonian, including the 30.82 carat heart-shaped blue diamond which once belonged to Empress Eugénie and the diamond ear pendants and necklace once worn by Marie Antoinette. In October 1981, a superb 58.33 carat sapphire formerly owned by Ms. Post was sold at Christie's for $968,000, setting the record at the time for a sapphire sold at auction in America.
It is believed that this exquisite diamond and emerald bracelet by Cartier was once part of Marjorie Merriweather Post's extensive collection of jewelry.