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  • Sotheby's sells the jewels of a WWII spy, Countess and Hollywood socialite
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • jewelssellsSotheby'sthe

Sotheby's sells the jewels of a WWII spy, Countess and Hollywood socialite

It sounds like Marie Aline Griffith's lived quite a life.

As well as being an American World War II spy, Griffith married into Spanish aristocracy and rubbed shoulders with world leaders and Hollywood celebrities.

Griffith worked for the OSS (predecessor to today's CIA) in Madrid during World War II. Through marriage, she later became Countess Alina de Romanones.

By all accounts - including her own best-selling novels - Griffith lived a life of adventure, mystery and glamour.

A ruby and diamond necklace and brooch, owned by the Countess Alina de Romanones

And, as befitted a woman of her status, the Countess also devoted herself to amassing a remarkable collection of necklaces, brooches and earrings featuring emeralds, diamonds and rubies.

Sotheby's will be auctioning the Collection of the Excelentísima Sra. Condesa vda. de Romanones in Geneva on May 17.

The enigmatic Countess, wearing one
of her jewellery pieces

Highlights from her magnificent collection include an emerald and diamond demi-parure from the 1960s (estimated at CHF 100,000-150,000/$103,000-147,000).

Also auctioning is a ruby and diamond necklace/brooch combination from the 1970s (estimated at CHF 80,000-150,000/$81,500-147,000).

And the Countess isn't the only remarkable lady whose jewels are appearing in the sale. Sotheby's auction will also offer treasures once worn by the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry the twice-divorced Wallis in 1936.

Trinkets from the Duchess of Windsor's collection include a $10m emerald tiara and an 11-carat pink diamond estimated at up to $16m.

Much success will be expected from Ms Simpson's jewellery. Previous auctions of the Duchess's jewellery include a £31m-grossing Sotheby's sale back in 1987.

Highlights in that sale included a Mclean diamond ring which made £1.8m.


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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • jewelssellsSotheby'sthe