What Ann Eisenhower’s jewels tell us about the collection

The work of Marlene Dietrich will get the most attention. it should. The ruby ​​and diamond jaletière (French for “garter”) bracelet, created by Louis Arpels for the star himself to headline Christie’s June 7 sale, Anne Eisenhower’s brilliant jewelsis widely considered one of the greatest works of the 20th century.

Did you see the cushion ruby, round, single, rectangular and baguette diamonds on display at Cooper Hewitt in 2011? Museum of Decorative Arts in 2012?In the film, in Dietrich’s own arms lose on stage And at the 1951 Oscars? Yes it was. And its provenance couldn’t be clearer: it passed from Dietrich’s estate to Sotheby’s in 1992 and directly to Eisenhower. The accompanying Marked Cross box highlights that tradition: the initials MD and is yours next?

Anne Eisenhower

Van Cleef & Arpels Marlene Dietrich Jarretiere Bracelet (Estimate: $2.5-4.5 million).


But don’t ignore the other 30+ gems in this sale and the lessons they provide in the art of collecting. Tiffany’s rare Art Deco diamond and multi-gem “Moonlight Rose” bracelet (estimated $500,000 to $700,000), Cartier’s Art Deco diamond bangle bracelet (estimated $150,000 to $250,000), Panthère pins, and David What can Webcolor tell me? You don’t need everything, the collection seems to advise only the best. Eisenhower’s eye certainly favored important pieces — there are jewelery icons represented by the world’s great maisons — but her choices also speak to a wise and careful approach.

Anne Eisenhower

Ann Eisenhower.

Adriana Echavarria Eisenhower

Did she preach her way out loud? “We didn’t talk about it much,” says Eisenhower’s daughter Adriana Echavarria. “She was a quiet collector. I’m sure growing up in the White House and rural Pennsylvania had something to do with it. But I loved seeing her get dressed. I chose carefully. This is the approach of buying jewelry to wear on specific occasions and times. It’s a long chain that’s perfect for a luncheon suit. Long diamond earrings for cocktail events. A major and important necklace for black tie.

Photography: Stephen DeVilbiss

Cartier colored diamond, onyx, and emerald panthère brooch (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).

Stephen DeVilbis/Christie’s

There is no hard evidence that Eisenhower approached her collection in such a way, but the fact that it came up with it is a testament to her sense of propriety and how her collection reflected that beauty order. It tells the story of whether there is No one would dare to call Cartier Tiger Stripe Earrings with Colored Diamonds utilitarian, but the entire collection shows that they serve a purpose. And Eisenhower certainly wore her jewelry.

“I remember her at the Met Gala wearing a marine bracelet and matching earrings,” says Echavarria. And she knew what treasure she had. “She’s shared it or loaned it to museums, including a show at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. It was one of her favorites.”

Photography: Stephen DeVilbiss

Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond “Cascade” Earrings (Estimate: $40,000-$60,000).

Stephen DeVilbis/Christie’s

With moments like this etched in our memory, why sell? It’s a question that comes up almost every time a family sale on an important item is announced. “When the sale came up, I thought it was a homage to her as a New Yorker, as an artist, as an elegant woman,” says Echavarria. “She was quiet and reserved, but she was always surrounded by people she cared about and movie stars. They intrigued her.”

Anne Eisenhower

Adriana Echavarria and her mother, Anne Eisenhower.

Adriana Echavarria Eisenhower

Are there any particular pieces that stand out as mementos rather than collectibles? “She always wore printed clothes, and she had animal prints on the dining room rug. I just want you to know that it’s been done.For me, it’s part of saying goodbye to her.I didn’t know how great they were until she died.She It was very quiet, for example, I didn’t know the history behind the Marlene bracelet, how strongly she spoke out against the war, and it meant a lot to the president’s granddaughter. Must.”

Headshot of Stellene Volandez


Editor-in-chief Stellene Volandes is a jewelery expert and Jewelers: Masters and mavericks of modern design (Rizzoli).

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