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New York Jewelry Diary
By Clive Kandel
QUEEN MAXIMA OF THE NETHERLANDS. Newly installed Queen Maxima of the Netherlands fails to resist showing her genuinely warm smile. Unlike most British royals, Maxima has a great sense of style. For her investiture as Queen, Maxima wore sapphires, as did the previous Queen, Princess Beatrix. The Dutch royal family have an outstanding collection of the most fabulous diamond jewelry; diamonds so large that the modest House of Orange feel embarrassed to be seen wearing them. Queen Juliana rode a bike and hated being addressed as “Your Majesty”. Queen Beatrix reversed that, however the new handsome blond King William has decided to revert to his grandmother’s preference. One can only imagine, looking at the beautiful Queen Maxima, what fun she must have playing in that royal jewel box. She is a Latina. Can you blame her?
H.R.H. PRINCESS MICHAEL OF KENT. Correctly known as Her Royal Highness Baroness Marie-Christine Anne Agnes Hedwig Ida, Princess Michael of Kent but popularly known as Princess Michael. A shot in the arm for the British royal family provoking much interest, H.R.H. Princess Michael proves to be an intelligent author, speaker and most importantly a very true and devoted friend. HRH Princess Michael was awarded the Order of the Starry Cross, the ladies’ equivalent of the Order of the Golden Fleece, by Her Imperial Highness the Archduchess Regina of Austria who died in 2010. Her Royal Highness is a Grand Dame of the Order of Malta, and in September 2010 received the Order of Mercy in recognition of her 32 years unpaid charity work.Her unabashed joy in wearing chic clothes , hats and stylish jewelry in a splendid manner adds to every royal occasion.
IRIS APFEL. In less than three words, please tell me what am I missing?
IRENE ROOSEVELT AITKEN. Devotee past and present of David Webb. One of the last old school prominent New York socialites, she was the widow of John A. Roosevelt, the youngest of the Roosevelts’ six children. In 1986 she married Russel Aitken, the widower of Annie Laurie, the mother of Sunny von Bulow, who was married to Claus von Bulow. Annie Laurie Aitken died in 1984. Her jewelry collection was sold by Sotheby’s in April 1985 and was that auction house’s successful response to Christie’s sale ”The Magnificent Jewels of Florence J. Gould” the year before in 1984. I was present at both sales and would judge that the ”Magnificent Jewelry from the Collection of Annie-Laurie Aitken” at Sotheby’s forever changed the estate jewelry market. The sale was held at the height of the 1980’s boom, attracted enormous retail attention and gave the seal of approval and reassurance to acquiring jewels at auction. Mrs. Roosevelt Aitken is a major supporter of the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection, amongst many other institutions. Seen here wearing two David Webb necklaces, bracelet, earrings and ring.
H.R.H. BIRGITTE, DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER. Danish born Birgitte married the Queen’s cousin Richard Duke of Gloucester in 1972. Born a commoner, she has come into more stunning jewelry than most other members of the Royal Family. It is rumored that it is a happening she not only enjoys but encourages. Her late mother-in-law, the Dowager Duchess of Gloucester was the daughter of one of Britain’s wealthiest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch. She is seen here wearing an enormous Cartier London Art Deco tiara made for Queen Victoria’s grandaughter Princess Marie Louise.
COUNTESS MARTA MARZOTTO. Mother of Matteo Marzotto, saviour of Valentino. Marta Marzotto was the preferred muse of famous painter Renato Guttuso. Designs her own jewels.
HiLARY GEARY ROSS. Hilary Geary Ross wearing Duchess of Windsor style pearls. Hilary Geary Ross, the ever popular East Coaster, married to the considerably wealthy Wilbur Ross. Takes the wearing of jewelry very seriously, rumored to have bought much of Babe Paley’s Verdura collection, mixes her Jar with other designers and has no qualms carrying off a full jeweled parure, necklace tucked into a blouse, with simple short skirted cocktail ensembles.
GABRIELLE CHOO. A diminutive Beverly Hills real estate mega broker’s wife who can carry more jewelry than a woman twice her size. Gabrielle, Grafin von Schoeneberg knows of no evil and knows more about jewelry than most. Her close acquaintances include Oscar de la Renta, Collins the Crown Jeweller and every far-too-wealthy Beverly Hills lunching lady plus a myriad of people who only respond to the good. Always seen in color matched Hermes, couture and jewels.
BARONESS MARIE-HELENE DE ROTHSCHILD. A great and kind outgoing personality who gave some of the most memorable society balls of post war Europe. “A good way of making people happy is to allow them to meet their opposites,” she once said. But her doors remained closed to the Onassises.
GANNA WALSKA. Polish born aspiring opera diva. Husband number four, Harold McCormick of the McCormick Harvester Machine Co., gave Ganna an open no limit charge account at Cartier between 1922 and 1930. Thanks to Walska, the most important Cartier jewels and clock collection survived. More on Ganna Walska in depth to follow.
BARONESS BINA VON DONNERSMARCK ROTHSCHILD. Considered by Cecil Beaton to be the only non actress suitable to play the role of the Queen of Transylvania in the movie My Fair Lady, 1964. Impeccable deportment and breeding.
MRS. REGINALD FELLOWES, Singer sewing machine heiress. Daisy Fellowes is wearing the pride and joy of Cartier’s Museum Collection, the ‘Collier Hindou’. More on Daisy Fellowes to follow.
DUCHESS LOELIA OF WESTMINSTER. The third wife of the unpleasant 2nd Duke of Westminster, who dallied with Coco Chanel. Loelia suffered her marriage to His Grace for seventeen years. The Duke showered Loelia with jewels and dressed her up as seen here, wearing the famous Lacloche Tiara set with the Arcot Diamonds that were later bought by Harry Winston.
THE SULTAN OF BRUNEI. The Sultan’s family have such a passion for jewelers that Prince Jefri, the Sultan’s disgraced brother, went as far as to buy himself a jeweler, Asprey of Bond Street. Once more, in such a traditional family, there are many wives and ladies who need to be treated equally to new jewels.
H.R.H. DUCHESS OF CORNWALL. Wearing the Boucheron Tiara and Cartier necklace set with Marie Antoinette’s diamonds, left to the late H.M. Queen Mother by Nazi sympathizer the Hon. Mrs. Ronnie Greville. Grandmother Oedipus Princeps.
LAURENCE GRAFF. Took over the mantle of Harry Winston as the world’s leading diamond retailer and resource for the largest stones. Politely to the point, which has endeared him to us.
HELENA RUBINSTEIN. She wore jewels like clothes. Treated Picasso and Cartier the same. “That’s my final offer – cash.”
IMPERIAL AUSTRIAN REMINDER. The jewels remain intact, but you do not.
MARY, PRINCESS ROYAL AND COUNTESS OF HAREWOOD. The late aunt to HM Queen Elizabeth. Princess Mary was forced by her mother, Queen Mary, to marry one of the wealthiest and ugliest men in England. The Harewood fortune was founded in coal mining and brought fabulous jewels to the Princess, which since her death in 1965 still continue to be sold onto the market.
MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM. Prime Minister and leader of the ruling family of Dubai. Al Maktoum has acknowledged having eleven daughters. Each daughter and others expect to be treated to jewels that are in recognizance of their paternity. Favorite jeweler is Van Cleef & Arpels.
THE LATE PRINCE JOHANNES AND GLORIA OF THURN AND TAXIS. A marriage based on Dynastical Necessity. Sold most of the family treasures, but while the Prince was alive, she had lots of fun playing dress up. So did he when no one was around.
KING FAISAL OF SAUDI ARABIA. When shown trays of diamond bracelets by Harry Winston, the late King waved his finger and pointed. The salesman delivered the chosen bracelet, but the puzzled King asked where the rest of the tray was. He wanted all the bracelets. Many wives to please, and Arab tradition requires that all the wives are treated equally – as far as diamonds are concerned.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR DBE. Elizabeth Taylor wearing Van Cleef & Arpels diamonds. Elizabeth Taylor is perhaps the last Hollywood star left who buys and pays for her own clothes and jewelry. That’s one reason why she is a true Dame of the British Empire.
IMELDA MARCOS. Thought to have spent close to a billion dollars on jewelry. The First Lady claimed she spent to help the poor. She asked S.J.Phillips of London to turn a Frederick the Great Snuffbox into a belt buckle. They refused, but then they weren’t poor.
PRINCESS LALLA SALMA OF MOROCCO. Consort to King Mohammed of Morocco. Red hair, big emeralds and red Takshita. Great combination of colors.
QUEEN SOFIA OF SPAIN. Apart from owning more than six tiaras, Queen Sofia is equally comfortable in Mantillas or jeans. One of the most modern and humanitarian European Royals.
MAHARANI SITA DEVI OF BARODA. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine as well.
MARCHIONESS EDITH OF LONDONDERRY. Jewels as large and powerful as her character.
JAYNE WRIGHTSMAN. One of the few women left who shun the photographers.
GENE TIERNEY. No jewelry needed.
EMPRESS FARAH OF IRAN. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, even if set by Van Cleef and Arpels.
BARBARA HUTTON. Married most of her boyfriends. Many addictions, including that of Cartier jewels.
DANIELLE STEELE. Supports bipolar disorder research and jewelers.
DORIS DUKE. So many boyfriends, so many jewels. Two husbands.
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