Christie’s Seeks $2.5 Million for Wallis Simpson JewelryThomas Mulier
A tiger-shaped brooch and bracelet made by Cartier and once owned by Wallis Simpson will go on the auction block at Christie’s International, which estimates they may be worth $2.5 million.
The auctioneer will sell the onyx and diamond pieces on Nov. 11 in Geneva for Sarah Brightman, who was given them as a gift in 1987 by her then-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber to celebrate the Broadway success of “The Phantom of the Opera.” Brightman, a soprano, starred in the musical.
The pieces, made in the 1950s, were owned formerly by Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor and wife of King Edward VIII, who abdicated the British throne so that he could marry the twice-divorced American.
“The jewels have brought immense joy to Ms. Brightman, who would now like to release them to new splendor in order for others to appreciate them as she did,” the auction house said. She will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which awards performing arts scholarships.
Cartier introduced the tiger motif in its jewelry design in 1928, Christie’s said. Vintage jewelry once owned by 20th century style icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Simpson often fetch higher prices at auction.
Geneva’s November auction season will also feature a Patek Philippe pocket watch that holds the record for the most expensive timepiece sold at auction. Sotheby’s, which is handling the sale, estimates the Henry Graves Supercomplication is worth more than 15 million Swiss francs ($16 million).
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