PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF
ROSE MARGARET WATERS
This jewelry was bequeathed to Rose Margaret Waters by her close friend Jessica Brown.
As a young child, Jessica Brown loved to dance, causing her mother to remark that she "kept the house in constant turmoil and disorder because of her penchant for dancing."
After finishing her education at Blair Academy in New Jersey, Jessica Brown followed the beckoning footlights to New York City where she danced in the cabaret at the old Knickerbocker Grill. It was there that George M. Cohan recognized her talents and promptly engaged her for his "Cohan Review." Her uncanny ability to devise new dance steps as well as her good looks made her an instant success. In 1921 and 1922, she was a star in the Ziegfeld "Follies" and "Midnight Frolic." She also kicked up her heels for the Shuberts at Broadway's Winter Garden.
In 1923, while attending an evening affair at the Grafton Gallery in London, she met the Earl of Northesk, David Ludovic George Hopetown Carnegie Rosehill. Upon the death of his father, the Earl, scion of one of the oldest families in the British Empire, became the 11th Earl of Northesk. He owned over 10,000 acres of land in England, as well as several castles in various regions of the British Isles. The couple married in Chicago on July 20, 1923, spending their honeymoon in Canada before moving to London. Jessica enjoyed her life as the Countess of Northesk, entertaining other titled personages, visiting with their social set at St. Moritz, and traveling to France, Italy and Switzerland. After five seemingly happy years of marriage, they divorced in 1928.
Upon losing her title, Lady Northesk chose a man with a much simpler background than the Earl. Vivian Emery Cornelius was an attaché of the British diplomatic corps. They married on December 18, 1928 in London. This time, the wedding was a beginning of a long life together, marked by the symbolic giving of a very special wedding ring, chosen by the bride. Instead of the usual circlet of gold or platinum, she selected a narrow band of platinum set all around with small diamonds, like an eternity ring. The new Mrs. Cornelius enjoyed wearing stylish fashions, accessorized with the latest jewelry. In a newspaper account announcing her marriage to Cornelius, she is shown wearing, pinned to her hat, the diamond double clip brooch (joined together as one) offered in this sale.
Vivian Cornelius was appointed honorary Attaché in Cairo in 1930 and also held similar posts in Brussels and Rome. In 1931, he was the unexpected heir to the fortune of his maternal grandfather, William E. Emery, who had been the head of the Kansas City department store of Emery, Bird and Thayer.
During World War II, Jessica Brown Cornelius was a war worker in the blitz in London while her husband was in embassy service for the British government in Washington. After living in London for more than thirty years, Jessica Brown Cornelius retired to the French Riviera following the death of her husband.
Jessica Brown lived a long and facinating life, from the glamour of the Jazz Age to the role of a diplomat's wife. What is reflected in her jewelry is that she was a person of elegance and good taste with an eager eye for the jewelers' art.