The Duchess of Windsor’s First Anniversary Gift Is Going to Auction

AuctionsOct 15, 2021

The Duchess of Windsor’s First Anniversary Gift Is Going to Auction

The Cartier bangle given by Edward VIII is estimated to sell for as much as $1.6 million at Christie’s Geneva next month.

This Cartier bangle with Burmese rubies and diamonds, given to the Duchess of Windsor by her husband on their first wedding anniversary, could sell for between $1.1 million and $2.2 million at auction next month.
Geneva—At the same time Marie Antoinette’s diamond bracelets go up for auction, Christie’s will also feature another set of royal jewels but with a more modern provenance.

At the Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on Nov. 9, the auction house will offer the first anniversary gift the Duke of Windsor gave to his wife, the Duchess of Windsor, on June 3, 1938.

He chose a special ruby bracelet from Cartier for the occasion and must have placed the order with the house earlier that year to have it delivered ahead of the couple’s trip out of town to spend the summer in the south of France, Christie’s said.

The bangle features two cushion-shaped rubies Burmese rubies—which show no signs of heat treatment—weighing a total of 36.15 carats and approximately 24-25 carats of baguette and circular-cut diamonds set in platinum. 

It features an inscription of a personal message, as many of her jewels did, that says: “For our first anniversary of June third.”

Edward VIII famously abdicated the British throne in December 1936 after just one year of ruling, becoming the first English monarch to voluntarily do so, according to

He chose to do after the British government, public, and Church of England decried his decision to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simson. 

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Once his brother, George VI, became king after he stepped down, he named Edward the Duke of Windsor.

The Duke and Simson were married in France at the Château de Candé in June 1937.

Now, the gift representing their first year of marriage is expected to sell for CHF 1 million to CHF 1.5 million (about $1.1 million to $1.6 million) at auction.

Christie’s called the bangle “one of Cartier’s most unusual designs” for its avant-garde style. The house had originally set the ruby and diamond clusters in a necklace before but reworked it into the current design the following year for the couple.

This is the first time the piece has appeared at auction since the popular 1987 Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor auction, which brought in more than $30 million, setting a record at the time and more than quadrupling the previous high sum paid at auction for a single collection of jewels. 

Parties interested in the bangle will be able to see it in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai before it heads to Christie’s Geneva for preview in the days leading up to the jewelry auction. 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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