Two pieces of tiger jewellery by Cartier, formerly from the legendary collection of the Duchess of Windsor and given to Sarah Brightman by her then husband Andrew Lloyd Webber, are the early highlights of the upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction at Christies
in Geneva on November 11. The two tiger pieces comprising of an onyx and diamond clip brooch and bracelet, with emerald eyes, were both made in the 1950s and are to be sold as one lot with a combined estimate of US$1,800,000-2,500,000. The Cartier Tiger Collection has been a highlight of 20th century jewellery design since it first appeared in 1928.
The rarity of these pieces is enhanced by the story behind their ownership two romantic tales where they became symbols of love through the act of giving. Edward VIII was King for less than a year when he abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. Living in France, together they created a remarkable collection of avant-garde jewels that defined the style of the 1940s and 1950s. These pieces were bought by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from Cartier between 1956 and 1959.
In the legendary sale of her collection in 1987, in Geneva (the most valuable collection of jewels ever auctioned at the time), a total of seven Great Cats pieces, by Cartier were offered, including the two tiger pieces now presented for sale. It was at this auction that Andrew Lloyd Webber bought them for his then wife, Sarah Brightman. They were a present to her to celebrate the huge London and Broadway success of The Phantom of the Opera, which he wrote and in which she starred. Over the years, the jewels have brought immense joy to Ms. Brightman, who would now like to release them to new splendor in order for others to appreciate them as she did.
By virtue of their unique history, Sarah Brightman intends to offer a portion of the proceeds from the sale to The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which significantly supports the arts, music in schools, The Architectural Heritage Fund and awards 30 performing arts scholarships annually. This donation will ensure the causes they both support benefit from the sale.