A South Sea cultured pearl and diamond necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels
Lot 165
A South Sea cultured pearl and diamond necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels
Sold for US$ 73,200 inc. premium
Auction Details
Fine Jewellery New York
19 Oct 2010 13:00 EDT

Auction 18382
Lot Details
Property from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
A South Sea cultured pearl and diamond necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels
comprising three rows of forty-one, forty-five and forty-nine round cultured pearls, measuring approximately 15.0 to 9.9mm, completed by a diamond and cultured pearl scrolling clasp; detaches to be worn as one, two or three strands; signed VCA for Van Cleef & Arpels, nos. NY46123 and NY43998; estimated total diamond weight: 4.50 carats; mounted in platinum; lengths: 20 1/4, 21 1/4, and 23 3/4in.

Footnotes

  • Bonhams is honored to offer property from the Estate of one of the great Hollywood legends, Jennifer Jones Simon. Born Phylis Lee Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 2, 1919, Jennifer Jones was literally delivered into an acting family. Her parents owned and starred in the Isley Stock Company, a theatrical troupe that toured the Midwest. As a child she spent her summers acting, selling candy and taking tickets for the company.

    After several months at Northwestern University, Jones transferred to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. It was there she was cast as Elizabeth Barrett opposite Robert Walker's Robert Browning in the popular stage drama, The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The couple married and went to Hollywood on their honeymoon in 1939, where they found small roles in the film industry but chose to settle in New York and dedicate their lives to the theater.

    Jones met legendary Hollywood producer David O. Selznick in New York when she read for the lead in the hit stage play Claudia that Selznick was planning to make into a movie. Although she did not win the role, Selznick was taken by Jones and saw a future for her in film. Selznick, probably best known for producing the 1939 epic, Gone with the Wind and Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 Hollywood directorial debut, Rebecca, got Jones the role of Bernadette Soubirous, the young French peasant girl in the film version of Franz Werfel's best-selling novel The Song of Bernadette (1943). Jones and the film were a hit. The Song of Bernadette brought the little-known actress instant fame and an Academy Award® in 1944 for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

    Jones went on to star in successful films such as Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), Cluny Brown (1946), Madame Bovary (1949) co-starring James Mason, Ruby Gentry with Charlton Heston (1952), John Huston's Beat the Devil (1954), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and the star-studded action-thriller The Towering Inferno (1974), her last film. Over the course of her career, she was nominated for an Oscar® five times.

    Jones and Selznick were married in 1949. He managed his wife's career until his death in 1965. In 1971, Jones married Norton Simon, the multimillionaire industrialist who had turned an orange juice bottling plant into a conglomerate that included the brands of Hunt Foods and Canada Dry. Simon retired two years earlier to focus on collecting works of art, which remain today a
    the core of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, one of the state's most recognized cultural institutions.

    In addition to her film career and family life, Jennifer Jones Simon was also
    dedicated to serving others. As early as the 1950s, Jones won accolades for her support of wounded soldiers in the Korean War. She was also an ardent supporter and fundraiser for numerous mental health organizations, the Hereditary Disease Foundation and was President and Chair of the Norton Simon Museum.

    The Van Cleef and Arpels triple strand pearl necklace offered here was a gift from Norton and it is obvious how much Jennifer cherished it. The pearls were worn during nearly every public appearance and, as George Christy noted in his 'The Great Life' column of October 14, 1999, "Superstar glamorous in a vermillion Galanos gown accessorized with her three-strand necklace of perfect pearls, Jennifer greeted guests as they toured the museum before dinner." Truly this necklace was a part of Jennifer and not just a beautiful piece of jewelry, but a part of Hollywood history, a part of philanthropic history and even part of art history.
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