A panther bracelet that belonged to Wallis Simpson (wife of abdicated Edward VIII) recently fetched £4.5 million, a world record for a bracelet. Speculation also persists that the buyer is Madonna, who is currently working on a film about the infamous couple.
The onyx and diamond panther reached its record-breaking price after a frenzied bidding exchange between two telephone bidders. In the run-up to the sale Madonna was said to be among its most ardent admirers, however Sotheby’s has refused to reveal the identity of the buyer.
The panther was a remarkable feat of creation by Cartier’s jewellery director Jeanne Toussaint. Its back is articulated so it encircles the wearer’s wrist and it was given to Wallis by Edward VIII in 1952 when they were living in exile in Paris as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
In total 30 pieces fell under the hammer which charted the love affair between Simpson and Edward VIII – the king who gave up his throne to marry the American divorcee. The collection was given a pre-sale estimate of £3 million but swelled to a total of £8 million.
David Bennett of Sotheby’s said: “They say no man (Edward VIII) ever gave up more for the love of a woman. The quality of the jewels and the way they tell the story of the relationship are just irresistible.”
Madonna’s film about the pair is her directorial debut.