The following two lots, an Art Deco diamond, ruby and enamel bag and a pair of emerald and gold cuff bracelets, were previously owned by the Duchess of Windsor, and formed part of her legendary and celebrated jewelry collection. Important not only for their provenance, these pieces illustrate the Duchess' innate sense of fashion and showmanship and the Duke's appreciation for quality, design and color. A dynamic couple, the duo loved jewelry and took great pains to select jewels that the Duchess could wear to highlight her elegant style. Often times, upon the insistence of her personal friend and couturier Hubert de Givenchy, the Duchess would bring her jewels to his atelier so that he could create a dress to serve as a backdrop to a piece and thus enhance the jewels magnificence.
The Duchess has been described as "elegance personified." For thirty years, she was hailed as being one of the worlds' "Best Dressed" by couturiers and fashionistas in both America and Europe, and was one of the favorite clients of Chanel, Schiaparelli and Poiret, amongst others. She gravitated towards stylish and decorative pieces from the 1940s and 1950s, and was amongst the first to wear yellow gold, which shortly thereafter became a popular fashion in France, partly due to the rationing and hoarding of gold during the war years. Though of lesser intrinsic value, this style was always considered avant garde.
The Dutchess of Windsor's collection is a testament to the couple's innovative style, wisdom and appreciation for perfection.
AN ART DECO DIAMOND, RUBY AND ENAMEL BAG
Designed as a beige, pink and gold floral fabric bag, with an old European-cut diamond frame, enhanced by ruby beads and black enamel scrolls, to the triangular-shaped pullpiece of similiar design, the reverse with star-set diamond and ruby accents, mounted in platinum, circa 1930, 6 x 8 ins.
The Duchess of Windsor
Sold Sotheby's Geneva, "The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor", 2 April 1987, lot 89