The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are known for their love affair with each other and for the jewelry he bestowed upon her.
Edward VIII was head of the church and King of England in 1936. Just before that time, he had fallen in love with American born Wallis Simpson twice divorced. He ultimately had to choose between his obligation as a King and his love. At the end of 1936, he decided to resign from the English throne and gave a radio broadcast that explained, “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of King, as I wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love”.
He became the Duke of Windsor after stepping down and married his love on June 3, 1937. Her engagement ring was a 19.77 carat emerald ring with leaf boarders surrounded by brilliant cut diamonds. It was purchased from Cartier, one of her favorite stores in 1936.
On her wedding day, she wore a beautiful diamond bracelet showing off nine diamond, ruby, emerald, aquamarine, amethyst and platinum crosses each inscribed and dated with memories between them.
It was only the beginning of many jewelry gifts given to her by her husband. She ultimately owned many diamond and colored gemstone necklaces, bracelets and brooches from stores such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. She didn’t have any rings as she thought her hands were too large and ugly.
Some of her jewelry included the well-known diamond “Zip Necklace” that could also be worn as a bracelet created for her by Van Cleef & Arpels, a gold cigarette case with a map on top accentuated with colored gemstones dated Christmas 1935 and a large flamingo clip with plumage set with caliber-cut emeralds, rubies and sapphires. The neck and body was encrusted with round single and brilliant cut diamonds made by Cartier, circa 1940; a gold coin watch made of an 1893 gold five pound coin with Roman numerals, circa 1940 and a diamond and onyx panther bracelet from Cartier, circa 1952.