What’s it like to count the Duchess of Windsor (who also loved the House of Cartier) and Frank Sinatra as clients? If only we could ask Suzanne Belperron. Maybe best known for her ‘stones imbedded in stones’ designs, Belperron had a style all her own.
When daddy is one of the richest men in America (so is grandpa, but who’s counting) and you’re getting married, what kind of wedding present should you expect? Clearly, a piece of jewelry to make even the most seasoned of jewelry collectors catch their breath is in order. And so it went with Barbara Hutton, the only child of Edna and Franklyn Laws Hutton (and granddaughter of Frank W. Woolworth). When Barbara married a prince in 1933, her father bequeathed her with an outstanding jadeite necklace by Cartier, later dubbed Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace.
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 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.
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.