Cover image for Famous jewelry collectors
Famous jewelry collectors
Papi, Stefano.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harry N. Abrams, 1999.
Physical Description:
208 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NK7397 .P36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The Duchess of Windsor, Ava Gardner, Joan Crawford, socialite Barbara Hutton, and the German Princes von Thurn und Taxis, as this gorgeously illustrated book shows, all amassed spectacular collections of jewelry. Here, for the first time, is a public viewing of fabulous bracelets, necklaces, rings, brooches, and earrings owned by the rich and famous -- along with a peek into the glamorous lives behind these glittering collections.

Two international jewelry experts who have handled countless auctions of fine jewelry from private estates tell how the collections of Mary Pickford, Merle Oberon, King Umberto II of Italy, and Rubenstein, among others, came into being, and which jewelers these collectors favored. This is a book for everyone interested in society, collecting, and the finest of jewelry.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Two tomes focusing on extraordinary women collectors provide educational and amusing insights into many famous and soon-to-be-well-known heroines, from Joan Crawford and the duchess of Windsor to Katherine Dreier and Gabrielle Keiller. In the more scholarly of the two books, Gere and Vaizey produce a goodly amount of words and a number of photographs to document the past deeds of 35 women (and two men). Though many names have been engraved into museum cornerstones--Isabella Stewart Gardner and Peggy Guggenheim, to name two--here we are introduced to their personalities, direction (or lack of) for collections, and other global pursuits. A few retain world renown; Helena Rubenstein, the cosmetics queen, is memorable for her insistence on quantity and her fascination with eclectic Eastern objects and large jewelry that dwarfed a petite frame. Others are revered locally for their almost singleminded pursuit of art. Still others have remained relatively obscure. Whether endowed at birth with fortune or building wealth from scratch or through marriage, these women collectors, from 1750 to 1997, are now honored in one place. Papi and Rhodes of Sotheby's tend toward more elaborate and more frivolous descriptions of 18 women collectors--with many more color photographs and illustrations. The dozen-and-a-half portraits are divided equally among three types: screen actresses (and a diva), aristocracy, and society. And many names, having appeared in headlines throughout the years, will be familiar; these include Mary Pickford, Ava Gardner, Renata Tebaldi, and Barbara Hutton. The authors delve, as deeply as possible, into the provenance of the baubles; Charlie Chaplin, for instance, bestowed a consolation Maubossin gold-diamond-emerald bracelet on wife Paulette Goddard when she narrowly missed being cast as Scarlett O'Hara. Other facts, most probably, belong to the realm of celebrity watchers; for instance, the duchess of Windsor's artifacts netted $31 million at auction. Underneath the glitz and the glamour lies a well-documented sense of tragedy about lives and lifestyles; a 1992 auction of jewels and artifacts from the Princess von Turn and Taxis, for instance, was forced by the untimely death of husband Johannes. Fun facts for jewelry admirers and trivia buffs. --Barbara Jacobs

Library Journal Review

Eighteen magnificent jewelry collections are shown here in clear, vibrant photos of the actual pieces, along with photos of their owners wearing them. The collectors were some of the most glamorous of the 20th century: actresses, an opera singer, royalty, aristocrats, and society women. The fascinating lives of these women are intertwined with accounts of how each acquired her jewelry, when and where she was seen wearing the jewels, and, most interesting of all, the various metamorphoses of many of the pieces of jewelry. Originals and resettings are depicted, as seemingly "old-fashioned" bracelets, brooches, necklaces, rings, and earrings were redesigned to ensure that their owners would remain in the height of fashion. The authors, both directors at Sotheby's, provide the sort of information appearing in auction catalogs that few readers probably have the chance to see. This beautifully produced, very readable book is highly recommended for public and academic library decorative art collections.--Therese Duzinkiewicz Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 6
1 Screen Actresses and a Diva
Merle Oberonp. 8
Mary Pickfordp. 20
Paulette Goddardp. 30
Ava Gardnerp. 38
Joan Crawfordp. 46
Renata Tebaldip. 54
2 Aristocracy
Cornelia, Countess of Cravenp. 64
Gladys, Duchess of Marlboroughp. 70
King Umberto II of Italyp. 82
The Princess Royal, Countess of Harewoodp. 90
The Princes von Thurn und Taxisp. 102
The Duchess of Windsorp. 114
3 Society
Countess Mona Bismarckp. 130
Lydia, Lady Deterdingp. 142
Daisy Fellowesp. 154
Ganna Walskap. 166
Barbara Huttonp. 178
Helena Rubinsteinp. 190
Acknowledgmentsp. 202
Bibliographyp. 203
Sources of Illustrationsp. 205
Indexp. 206