It’s my birthday!! Happy birthday to me. My present to myself (besides the jewelry I already bought myself last week…oops) is that we are going to look at one my favorite pieces of all time.
My goal for this post is to sound as little like Gollum as possible. We’ll see how it goes.
Edward, Duke of Windsor and almost-King of England, did a really good job of proving that he loved Wallis Simpson. Sure, it was no small thing when he abdicated the throne for her. But what really impresses me is the fact that he bought her some of the most amazing jewelry the world has ever seen, much of it specially commissioned. We are only going to talk about one piece today: her Cartier panther bracelet, but you can see several other spectacular pieces here.
Image via Bride-to-be.
Cartier created this bracelet in Paris in 1952. The finely-sculpted body is pavé-set with brilliant- and single-cut diamonds and calibré-cut onyx. Each eye is carefully set with a marquise-shaped emerald. It is 195 mm long and wears as if it’s 165 mm long. In American, that means it’s 6.5 inches and would fit me perfectly. Be still my heart.
I usually don’t mention prices, but you should be aware that this baby sold for just over 7 million dollars. I’m pretty sure it’s worth every penny.
The most remarkable feature of this bracelet – besides the sensuous lines and emerald eyes of the elegant panther – is the piece’s extensive articulation. The panther is jointed along its entire length to allow the bracelet to drape itself around a lucky wearer’s wrist rather than remaining rigid like a bangle.
Here, the bracelet lounges languidly on a white-gloved hand in front of a Cecil Beaton portrait of Wallis Simpson at Sotheby’s auction rooms in London. Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP, via Pricescope.
Sotheby’s says the piece is “designed to encircle the wrist and to assume a stalking attitude.” Sounds like an accurate description to me. Just look how perfectly detailed he is; the perk of his ears, the shape of his paws.
Here is the fabulous Duchess of Windsor herself, looking happy in her bracelet (and why shouldn’t she be?).
A lovely view here of the bracelet’s fluidity, thanks to Technology Marketing Corporation.
Here the bracelet is stretched out to its full length for the Sotheby’s catalogue. Isn’t it crazy to think of such an iconic piece having something as mundane as a clasp? I would have just expected the panther to come momentarily to life and clasp its own tail in its paw.
More stalking. The Independent described the lady modeling the bracelet in this image as “A person.”
A photo of the bracelet napping in its Cartier box, via News.com.au.
One last photo to give us a new view of the face and limbs. Goodbye for now, precious panther. I’ll see you in my dreams.
This bracelet was listed in Sotheby’s Exceptional Jewels and Precious Objects Formerly in the Collection of The Duchess of Windsor sale. All images and info are thanks to Sotheby’s unless otherwise noted.
I LOVE AND ADORE SHINY, SPARKLY METAL ENDCASED TRINKETS. LIKE A BOWER BIRD! HOWEVER, i WAS NEVER A FAN OF THE DOW’s STYLE OF JEWELRY. MUCH OF IT IS JUST BIG & GAUDY TO BE BIG & GAUDY.WITHOUT ANY REAL TASTE BEHIND IT. CRAFTSMANSHIP, YES! TASTE, NO! THE CROSS BRACELET IS LOVELY. A FEW OTHER PIECES ARE AS WELL. THEN ONE DAY I WAS INVITED TO THE DOW’s JEWELRY SHOW, THE REAL ONES. I PASSED EACH CASE WITH SIMPLE NOD, TO ITS HISTORY & GAUDINESS. THEN, I STOPPED AT THE CASE CONTAINING THE DOW’s BLUE CHALCEDONY BEAD NECKLACE AND EARRINGS. OH!!!!! I BECAME ABSOLUTELY DIZZY! THOSE FAT,, ROUND BLUE LACE BEADS JUST SAT THERE TAUNTNG ME WITH THEIR BEAUTY. SO SMOOTH & CREAMY IN THEIR COOL BLUENESS. OH MY!!! I CAN STILL SEE THEM GLISTENING, LIKE PALE WATER DROPS NESTLED INSIDE THEIR SAFETY CASE. OH MY! OH MY!
I have a panther charm from Cartier and wonder what it ma be worth?
If you have a panther charm from Cartier, it’s definitely worth something! You should find a jewelry appraiser in your area and get it looked at.
Hahaha you cracked me up! I’ve also always loved the Cartier panther, so your post was a real treat to read as I’ve never seen this bracelet before. Thanks so much for writing it, it was hilarious and informative, so sad that I missed the auction though hahaha 🙂