When you’re the wife of one of America’s best loved composers, it’s expected you’ll have a few pieces of lovely jewelry. But what happens when you’re a wealthy woman in your own right? You buy your own amazing jewelry AND let your husband by you amazing jewelry. Linda Lee Porter did.
If you have been following along on Wednesdays, I’ve been covering all eight of Elizabeth Taylor’s weddings. And some of her jewelry. She was quite the collector and one of these Fridays, I’ll discuss her collection in detail. But today, we’ll talk about a woman, Marjorie Merriweather Post, who’s jewelry collection put Liz’s to shame.
Marlene Dietrich came by her jewelry obsession honestly. The German-born actress’ mother came from a well-heeled family that had owned a jewelry store in Berlin’s Unter den Linden neighborhood – a very fashionable area. Marlene learned early on that jewelry purchased from the best retailers would not only hold its value, it would end up proving invaluable in her life.
There are famous folks who want to remain in the shadows. I get that. What I don’t get are those that become ghosts. In trying to research today’s post, I looked high and low for information and images about American Socialite Hélène Beaumont but there was little to find. Thank goodness there’s a magnificent piece of jewelry being auctioned off by Sotheby’s in May, having once belonged to her, or she may have slipped into obscurity for most of us commoners.
Depending on your age, the Vanderbilt you most associate with the name may be different. But I bet that if it’s not Anderson Cooper, it may be his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, that comes to mind. And if you’re of the age where you have millennials as grandkids, you may even remember the last of the gilded days, where the New York elite still had grand parties in their even more grand mansions. In that case, Grace Wilson Vanderbilt, one of the last (if not THE last) to host such gatherings, may just be the Vanderbilt in your mind’s eye.
There are great jewelry collectors with fantastic pedigrees and great class. And then there was Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh. Born Maria Magdalena Muller in Richmond, Virginia, she first married William Haberle, who was a brewery heir from Syracuse. Little is known about how she met Mr. Haberle or for how long they were married. But by all accounts, they didn’t lead a very glamorous life, instead living in a drab, typical upper middle class Queen Anne house on Prospect Avenue in Syracuse.
The Gilded Age. It was a time of plenty but for many it was…. well, a time of PLENTY. There were haves and have nots. And then there were the have more than you can imagines. May Goelet came from a family in the last category. One of the wealthiest heiresses of the time, back when American heiresses were marrying British and Scottish nobility because they had everything else here in America but a title, Mary Goelet Innes-Ker was the cream of the crop.
Last week I introduced you to Gabriella Princess zu Leiningen, a woman who married well (twice) and had the jewelry collection to prove it. Her last husband, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, had been married before and was no stranger to bestowing lovely women with amazing jewels. So, today I want to introduce you to…. his first wife, Princess Salimah Aga Khan.
What’s the easiest way to amass an amazing jewelry collection? Well, maybe not the easiest, but the quickest way is to marry one of the most wealthy men in the world. When money is no object, it appears like jewels just magically fall from the sky. Or Cartier. Just ask Gabriella Princess zu Leiningen.
She needs no introduction but just in case you’re reading this fifty years after publication, we’ll clue you in. Diana, Princess of Wales was an amazing woman who gone way too soon. A gentle soul who chose to hold hands with the sick and stand side by side with the poor, she had a jewelry collection that rivaled her true beauty. There are many pieces we could cover, but we’ll hit what we think are the highlights here.
Once called the “Supreme goddess of Spanish language cinema,” by the New York Times, Maria Felix was no doubt a super star. Maybe not here in the US, but in Mexico and in her adopted France, she was a mega star. And mega stars need? Mega jewels, of course.
When you hear the name Andy Warhol, you think Campbell’s Soup Cans and modern art. Most of us don’t think of fine jewelry, much less an extensive collection that rivaled the most well known of socialites.
Great Jewelry Collectors: Countess Albina Du Boisrouvray * Albina Du Boisrouvray is an anomaly. A woman from incredible means, who gave up a significant part of it, including some otherworldly jewels, to help those with nothing.
There are women who marry well. And then there are women who make it an art. Mona von Bismarck was the latter. Married five times (FIVE TIMES), she had quite the life story (and the jewelry to go with it). Read about her in today’s episode of #GreatJewelryCollectors on our blog: https://www.katiecallahanandco.com/?p=6593