Jewelery of the Duchess of Winsdorz, also known as Wallis Simpson
Mrs. Wallis Simpson is one of the most famous female figures in the politics and public life of Europe in the first half of the 20th century. This is a woman for the sake of marriage to which Prince of Wales, Prince Edward VIII, abandoned the British throne in favor of his descendants, having received the title of Duke of Winsdorz from his younger brother-king. She was a conqueror of the hearts of many aristocrats and prominent political figures, not disdaining either age or political convictions thereof: for example, the duchess of Vinzdorskaya’s romance with the figure of the Third Reich Joachim von Ribbentrop, as well as her post-war adventures with young millionaires Jimmy Donahue and A. V. Woolworth.
Her life story is long and amazing, so it’s worth noting only a few facts: after Edward’s abdication, The Times recognized Mrs. Simpson as “the man of the year”; due to suspicions of espionage in favor of Nazi Germany (as it later turned out to be justified), the couple of the Dukes of Windsor were exiled to the Bahamas; at the end of her life, Lady Winsdor wrote a book, “You Can’t Order a Heart,” in which she revealed, perhaps, if not all the secrets of her adventures, then most of them.
Mrs. Simpson’s favorite jewelry maker was the French firm Cartier. One of the most famous jewelry produced by the company is the “Panther on a Sapphire Ball” pendant. It is made in the form of a panther in white gold, studded with diamonds and lapis lazuli, with yellow eyes. The figure of a predator sits on a large, absolutely round cabochon made of deep blue sapphire. Panthers are an unofficial symbol of Cartier jewelry house, and their luxurious aggressive images often appear in collections. Also, the Duchess of Vinzdorskaya had a bracelet in the form of a black and white panther of onyx and diamonds.
One of Wallis’s most expensive jewelry was a Cartier gold brooch in the shape of a heart. Her husband gave her the 20th anniversary of the wedding. The heart is crowned with a ruby crown, and in the center there are emerald initials W and E (Wallis and Edward). She was much more expensive than the first jewelry donated by Edward to her future wife before marriage, namely, a brooch in the form of three ostrich feathers made of diamonds.
In 1940, the Duchess was presented with another brooch – “Flamingo” made from diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds in combination with white gold. It is decorated with oblong stones with a baguette cut. Lady generally quite often preferred just such stones – for example, one of her most dearly favorite jewelry was a bracelet with cross pendants made of precious stones. It was made in 1935, and since then, every year the husband gave the duchess one cross.
Mrs. Simpson’s necklaces are also fascinating. One of them is made of gold threads and decorated with amethysts and turquoise. This necklace from the unchanged favorite of the duchess – Cartier company – is a vivid representative of the so-called “garland” style, fashionable in the middle of the 20th century. Another necklace, called a “tie,” Lady Winsdor put on for business receptions. For walks and social events, Wallis preferred a short string of large pearls and black pearl earrings.
A funny story is associated with one of the duchess’s necklaces. On the anniversary of the wedding of Maharaja Baroda, he presented the Vinsdorov couple with precious stones of amazing magnitude. Of these, an ornament was ordered in which the duchess shone at a gala event. Everyone admired him … until the wife of Maharaja Baroda accidentally let slip that these stones were in her anklets before. After such embarrassment, the Duchess no longer put on a necklace and his fate is unknown.
And the rest of Wallis Simpson’s jewelry was sold at Sotheby’s in 2010. They were all in the same person, whose name was not disclosed, and after the auction scattered into private collections.