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20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style

Stefano Papi, Alexandra Rhodes

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Surveys the dazzling jewelry collections of some of the 20th century’s most celebrated women, brilliantly evoking a lost world of high society


For many centuries collecting precious jewels was the preserve of kings and queens, emperors and maharajahs. But in the aftermath of the First World War, with the fall of several European monarchies, royal gems passed into the hands of a different kind of elite that included celebrities from the silver screen and a coterie who revelled in a social whirl of the newly rich.

This book profiles thirteen of these rich and glamorous women, all of whom built up astonishing jewelry collections in the early and mid-20th century.

The authors, both international jewelry experts, bring to life the worlds in which these women moved, as well as describing the gems in detail and providing a portrait of the work of the leading jewelers of the day. The book is illustrated with close-up shots of the jewels as well as wonderful drawings of the original designs, and includes portraits of the women by Beaton, Horst and other leading photographers of the time.

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'A feast for the eyes and packed with fascinating insights'
Vanity Fair

'From fashion icon Daisy Fellowes to the Duchess of Windsor … reveals the splendour of this decadent high society. The special edition book features incredible photography and never-before-seen images, bringing to life some of the most astonishing and coveted pieces of the decade'
Mayfair magazine

'The combination of images of beautiful/stylish women of a bygone, glamorous era and sumptuous, close-up shots of the most gorgeous,covetable jewelry, makes for a heady mix'
The Jeweller

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)

Edition Type: Revised Edition

Size: 30.0 x 22.4 cm

Extent: 320 pp

Publication date: 25 August 2016

ISBN: 9780500519004

Contents List

Preface • 1. Marjorie Merriweather Post • 2. Lydia, Lady Deterding • 3. The Duchess of Windsor • 4. Daisy Fellowes • 5. Countess Mona Bismarck • 6. Barbara Hutton • 7. Merle Oberon • 8. The Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda • 9. Maria Callas • 10. H.H. Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan • 11. Nina Dyer

About the Author

Stefano Papi has worked as senior European specialist in the jewelry department of both Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses. His previous books include Famous Jewelry Collectors, Stage Jewels and Jewellery of the House of Savoy.

Alexandra Rhodes is Senior Specialist for the international jewelry division of Sotheby’s in London.

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