A stunning Art Deco cultured pearl and diamond bracelet owned by H.R.H. The Princess Margaret and worn for her 19th birthday photograph taken by Cecil Beaton in 1949, sold for £396,800 at Dix Noonan Webb
in their auction of Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu at their Mayfair saleroom (16 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BQ). It was estimated to fetch £30,000-40,000 and after bidding on the telephones, and the internet, it was bought by a Private buyer [lot 252].
Comprising a double row of cultured pearls bordering a millegrain-set line of circular-cut diamonds to a diamond and pearl openwork geometric clasp, it dates from circa 1925. It was presented in a later fitted red leather Cartier case. It had been previously sold at Christies in 2006 in their prestigious auction of Jewellery and Fabergé from the Collection of H.R.H The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
According to Cecil Beatons diary, this was the first of six portraits that he took of her before her marriage in 1960. Taken on July 8, 1949, it was published on her birthday, August 21. He recalled: She was at Lords for the Eton and Harrow match, and got back a bit late but she is such a quick dresser that a few moments after her return she appeared changed into the new evening dress Hartnell had supplied her that morning a dull dress of white tulle embroidered with sequin butterflies and a rainbow tulle scarf around the waist. She looked very pretty and wore quite a lot of make-up and the eyes are of a piercing blue catlike and fierce and so very pristine and youthful
He went on to say that he recalls: This is very exciting she said as she walked up the long red carpeted arcade towards the Chinese drawing room in which we had placed all our complicated apparatus. I trust I havent dragged you away from Lords Oh it wasnt a drag, she said
He finished by mentioning: She had been up till 5.30 the night before (she likes the peace and anonymity of the 400 nightclub) and towards the end of the two hour sitting, started to wilt and became very tired
Frances Noble, Head of the Jewellery Department and Associate Director at Dix Noonan Webb, said: We are absolutely delighted with the price achieved today for the Art Deco bracelet formerly in the collection of HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. It not only reflects the strength of the current auction market but also the overriding importance of provenance. Princess Margaret was photographed wearing this bracelet on numerous occasions which certainly added to the appeal of the piece, attracting international interest and extremely competitive bidding - an exceptional result for the vendor.
Dix Noonan Webb hold four specialist Jewellery, Watches and Object of Vertu sales each year. Other highlights of todays sale, so far, have been a stunning Art Deco aquamarine cocktail ring by Cartier, circa 1940, accompanied by the original hand drawn design options, which sold for £24,800 against an estimate of £4,000-6,000. It is being sold by the family who had originally commissioned the ring [lot 199].
Also of note was a pair of early 20th century diamond earrings, each set with a transitional-cut diamond weighing 2.82 and 3.04 carats, beneath a similarly-cut diamond surmount, mounted in platinum and gold, which had a length of 15mm and sold for £23,560 against an estimate of £10,000-£12,000 [lot 241] and a late 19th century Burmese sapphire ring, set with an oval-shaped sapphire weighing approximately 6.20 carats, each claw inlaid with a rose-cut diamond, to a tapering and reeded hoop, mounted in gold, realised £17,360 against an estimate of £5,000-£6,000 [lot 211].