Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Pearls of the Duchess of Windsor

About twenty years ago, Calvin Klein made some historic purchases for his then wife, Kelly, at an auction of the Duchess of Windsor's jewelry. Among them, the Duchess' wedding band engraved with the word "Eternity" that later provided the name for the designer's best-selling fragrance, and the Duchess' famed natural pearl and diamond necklace made by Cartier. Not too long after that, Kelly Klein was featured in a spread in Vogue wearing her pearls with a black scoopneck body suit, slim-fitting light denim jeans and black flats. As a teen, I was so enamored with that image of casual elegance, that I saved that photo. Well, it's too bad I didn't start saving some cash back then as well, as Calvin's former wife has decided to part with the necklace along with its accompanying natural pearl pendant and set of pearl earrings in an auction to be conducted by Sotheby's on December 4, 2007. Although the combined three lots are estimated to bring about $3 million, it will be interesting to see what they actually go for. Aside from their intrinsic value (the size and quality of these natural pearls are extremely rare), the pearls are of historical importance as they originally belonged to Queen Mary who had gifted them to her son Edward, who subsequently gave them to the woman he abdicated the throne for, Wallis Simpson.

Per the Sotheby's press release, Kelly Klein has said “These pearls hold a very special place in my heart. They were a present from Calvin early on in our relationship. They represent passion, tenderness and a promise about the future. Pearls, in my mind, are different from diamonds or gold. They are warm, mysterious, a small miracle created by nature. They should be worn close to the skin, imbued with the essence of the wearer. It is my hope they will be given again, as they have been in the past, as a gesture of love and worn often and proudly.”

Sotheby's Press Release