Stunning Cartier tiger jewellery Sale
Two bejewelled tigers made by Cartier for Wallis Simpson and later given to opera star Sarah Brightman by Andrew Lloyd Webber have emerged for sale for £1.5 million. The brooch and bracelet were bought by Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, in the late 1950s when he and his wife were living in exile in France following his controversial abdication.
The Duchess of Windsor had a love of fine jewellery and she was showered with expensive gifts by Edward. Following her death in 1986, her enormous jewellery collection was sold off in a landmark auction held in Geneva.
One of the bidders was composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who snapped up the tiger brooch and bracelet made from onyx, diamond and emerald as a present for his then wife Sarah Brightman. The gift celebrated the couple's success in the hit musical Phantom of the Opera, which Lloyd Webber wrote and Brightman starred in.
Brightman, 54, the world's most successful classical singer, is now selling the jewellery through London auctioneers Christie's with a price tag of £1.5 million.
A Christie's spokesman said: 'The Cartier Tiger Collection has been a highlight of 20th century jewellery design since it first appeared in 1928.
'The rarity of these pieces is enhanced by the story behind their ownership – two romantic tales where they became symbols of love through the act of giving.
'Edward VIII was King for less than a year when he abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. Living in France, together they created a remarkable collection of avant-garde jewels that defined the style of the 1940s and 1950s. These pieces were bought by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from Cartier between 1956 and 1959'
'In the legendary sale of her collection in 1987 in Geneva a total of seven Great Cats pieces by Cartier were offered, including the two tiger pieces now presented for sale.
'It was at this auction that Andrew Lloyd Webber bought them for his then wife, Sarah Brightman. 'They were a present to her to celebrate the huge London and Broadway success of The Phantom of the Opera, which he wrote and in which she starred.
'Over the years, the jewels have brought immense joy to Ms. Brightman, who would now like to release them to new splendour in order for others to appreciate them as she did.' Some of the proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation which supports arts and music in schools.
The auction will take place on November 11 in Geneva.