Wallis Simpson panther bracelet fetches £4.5 million

Wednesday December 1, 2010

See more items from the collection

A jewellery collection charting one of the 20th century's greatest love stories went under the hammer this week.

The 20 pieces formerly owned by Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, the woman he abdicated for, were expected to raise around £3 million.

But they in fact sold at Sotheby's for a record-breaking total of £7,975,550, making it the most expensive single-owner collection ever auctioned.

And one piece stood out in particular - an onyx and diamond panther bracelet with emeralds for eyes that once curled around the Duchess of Windsor's wrist.

Following a telephone battle between two bidders, the star piece went for an incredible £4.5 million, the most expensive bracelet ever sold.

All 20 pieces were created by Cartier and designed by the couple themselves.

Sold on behalf of millionaire Wafiq Said, the collection marks the couple's romance from its early days until their 20th wedding anniversary. Many are inscribed with dedications of love.

Madonna, who is making a film about the Duchess, was said to be an admirer of the panther bracelet, although it is not known who the new owner is.

Other pieces sold under auction included a flamingo broach Edward gave Wallis for her birthday – one of her favourites.

And a cigarette case given to the former king by his love and inscribed with a map of Europe with jewels marking places they had visited together was also sold.

Photo: © Getty Images

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