On September 14, 2021, an important piece of jewellery, with Royal provenance, will be coming up for auction in London. An Art Deco cultured pearl and diamond bracelet owned by H.R.H. The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, will be offered at Dix Noonan Webb’s Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu Sale next month.
This is an exciting event to mark on one’s calendar. It’s not often that a jewellery piece of such recent Royal provenance comes up for sale. In fact, when Frances Noble, Head of the Jewellery Department and Associate Director at Dix Noonan Webb, was asked about this jewellery lot, she very pointed out that, “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a very personal piece of Royal history with an impeccable provenance.” For jewellery lovers and jewellery history lovers, it’s almost an opportunity of a lifetime.
This bracelet first came under the hammer at Christie’s London as part of their ‘Jewellery and Faberge, From the Collection of HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon’ Auction on 13th June 2006. At Christies, the bracelet had been given a pre-sale estimate of £3,000-£4,000, but it sold for many times its that. This fact drives home a very important point- jewellery pieces such as this bracelet are coveted for their provenance, above and beyond the jewel itself.
As a piece of jewellery, it is quintessentially Art Deco, both in design and in spirit. Two strands of perfectly matched, lustrous, creamy-white cultured pearls with pink overtones (most probably cultured Akoya pearls) are highlighted by a millegrain-set row of brilliant-cut diamonds. The shield-shaped clasp is set with lively, scintillating diamonds and two matched white cultured pearls. It is of openwork geometric design and has been mounted in platinum.
The clasp is marked with several engravings. An ownership ‘M’ can be seen beneath Princess Margaret’s coronet , but there is a further M stamped for Mikimoto and a P for platinum. However, the bracelet comes in a later fitted case by Cartier and it appears to have been shortened at some point, prior to its inclusion in the Christie’s auction. However, the length printed in the Christie’s catalogue is consistent with its current length. The piece is dated circa 1925.
As far as provenance for this bracelet goes, it’s really quite impressive. Apart from its inclusion in Christie’s 2006 sale catalogue, it comes with a Kensington Palace Certificate of Provenance carrying the red seal impression of Royal Coat of Arms. In short, exceptional provenance for an exquisite piece of jewellery.
A fascinating royal history tidbit attached to this bracelet is that it can be seen on Princess Margaret’s wrist in her 1949 portrait by Royal Photographer Cecil Beaton. The photograph was taken on July 8th, 1949, and was published on August 21st, 1949, to commemorate the Princess’ 19th birthday.
Jewellery pieces such as this bracelet rarely come on the secondary market and when they do, they create a thrilling buzz. The Princess Margaret was style icon of her day and her jewellery collection was stylish and always elegant. For lovers of finely made Art Deco jewellery and for those who love the British Royal family, this is a great chance to own something lovely with interesting historical significance.
The pre-sale estimate for this bracelet is £30,000-£40,000 GBP.
Featured Image: An Art Deco cultured pearl and diamond bracelet, circa 1925. Formerly from the Collection of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Image Copyright for H.R.H. The Princess Margaret’s 1949 Portrait: Bettmann Collection via Getty Images