Wallis Simpson bracelet fetches world record price

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A bracelet owned by Wallis Simpson, whose love affair with Edward VIII led to his abdication, has sold for a world record £4.5 million at auction.

The Cartier-designed onyx and diamond panther bracelet reached £4,521,250 at Sotheby's in central London last night - the highest price any bracelet has ever been sold for at auction. It also became the most expensive Cartier item to be sold at any auction.



It was one of 20 pieces owned by the late Duke and Duchess of Windsor to go under the hammer in the sale, which raised a total of £7,975,550. The jewellery had been expected to fetch in the region of £3 million.



A ruby, sapphire, emerald, citrine and diamond Cartier flamingo clip was one of the other big successes of the night, reaching £1,721,250.



David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery in Europe and the Middle East, said the Duchess was "a leader of fashion and the epitome of elegance and sophistication for her generation and beyond".



He said: "The offering comprises not only incomparable examples of the genius of Cartier in collaboration with the Windsors, but also pieces whose inscriptions tell the story of perhaps the greatest love story of the 20th century, the romance that led Edward VIII to abdicate the throne of Great Britain."



Madonna, who is directing WE, a film about the abdication, is reported to have tried on several of the items ahead of the sale. She is said to have shown particular interest in the panther bracelet, but a Sotheby's spokesman could not confirm the identity of its new owner.



The Cartier bracelet, lot 19 in the auction, was made in Paris in 1952. It is 195mm long and reached its record-breaking price despite missing several small stones.



Sotheby's described it as having an "articulated body designed to encircle the wrist and to assume a stalking attitude, pave-set with brilliant and single-cut diamonds and calibre-cut onyx, the eyes each set with a marquise-shaped emerald".



It had been expected to fetch between £1 million and £1.5 million.



The sale came 23 years after Sotheby's Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor auction, which they said was still the "most valuable single-owner jewellery collection ever sold".



The Duke and Duchess of Windsor commissioned many of the jewels from Cartier's designer Jeanne Toussaint, who created the panther bracelet and flamingo brooch.



Many of the pieces bear personal inscriptions, including a heart-shaped emerald, ruby and diamond Cartier brooch with the initials W.E. (Wallis, Edward), which was commissioned by the Duke to mark their 20th wedding anniversary in 1957.



Sotheby's said it attracted a "great deal of competition" before being sold for £205,250.



Another Cartier diamond bracelet, said to be a favourite of the Duchess, consists of nine gem-set crosses, each representing special moments in her life from 1933 to 1934.



They include the couple's marriage and an assassination attempt on the King. It reached £601,250.



Mr Bennett said: "Wherever we have exhibited the jewels in recent months - whether it be Moscow, New York, Hong Kong or the Middle East - the response has been extraordinary, and the Windsor collection has been introduced to a new audience of buyers."



All 20 pieces sold, making it a so-called "white glove" sale. The prices the jewellery sold for include buyer's premium.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future