H.R.H The Princess Margaret Collection

H.R.H. The Princess Margaret Collection

As purchased by Betty Cousins at Christie's in 2006, remembered and written by her son, Jonathan Cousins.  

Image credit Christie's

H.R.H. The Princess Margaret's 18 carat yellow gold egg, created by Cartier Paris.

H.R.H The Princess Margaret’s 18 carat gold egg is in fact a beautifully shaped and proportioned box with a most ingenious and completely invisible internal hinge mechanism enabling the egg to open, yet from the outside there is no visible clue as to its secret. 

The entire external surface of the egg is wonderfully engine turned, whilst the inner surface is perfectly polished, reflecting gold on gold, which is absolutely captivating.

It is an incredible feat of goldsmithing art and skill, so precisely and accurately made. It is also wondrously tactile, with a remarkable calming, and soothing quality when held in the palm of the hand.

 Hold a little piece of history.

Image credit to Atom site for DRISA

Image credit to Kimberley City Info

The Kimberlite Box

H.M. King George VI, H.R.H Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret visited South Africa in 1947 on board H.M.S. Vanguard. 

On Friday the 18th of April, three days before Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday they visited Kimberley Diamond Mines. 

Mary Oppenheimer presented Princess Elizabeth with a 6 carat perfect blue white diamond. Princess Elizabeth was also presented with 87 more diamonds by the Union Government for her 21st birthday, suitable to be set in a necklace with 21 major stones, the largest being 10 carats, 71.31 carats in total.

The 6 carat diamond Princess Elizabeth received that day was later added to the ‘South African Necklace’ when it was shortened, and a matching bracelet made. H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II would refer to this necklace as ‘her best

Image credit to The Order of Splendour Blog.

Mary Oppenheimer presented Princess Margaret with a 4.5 carat diamond contained in the Kimberlite and gold box. Kimberlite is the ore from which natural diamonds are mined and so the symbolism of presenting a cut and polished diamond in a cut and polished Kimberlite box is perfect.

The day we viewed H.R.H The Princess Margaret's Jewel Sale

My mother, Mrs Cousins had a very clear plan in mind. We were to have a ‘crack of dawn’ start, to leave home at 5.00 am. I can remember being a little less keen on this proposal and very slightly grumpy. It was not until later that I realized her wisdom.

We arrived in central London having had a remarkable, almost charmed journey. It seemed every traffic light turned to green just as we approached. Mother knew the commissionaire at the Cavendish Hotel, and he parked the car for her whilst we had an excellent breakfast.

A short and gentle stroll in to St. James’ revealed an almost completely deserted street. As Christie’s came into sight, a chap emerged with a standing sign that said Queue this Side. I bid him "Good morning" and looked up and down the street; then added "You’re optimistic."


Previewing the Lots

We were the very first people to go in that morning and for a little over an hour we only saw a dozen or so others. We had an amazing time and were able to study all the jewellery, silver and objets completely undisturbed. But, by about twenty past ten a swirling sea of potential buyers flooded in. It seemed every nationality was represented, there was almost "standing room only." I distinctly recollect a very large gentleman’s arm push between my mother and myself as he expressed an interest in the tiara.

We had seen it all. It was time to go. Mother, a seasoned auction veteran, wanted to plan her strategy for the day of the sale.

Jonathan can be seen here, in his father's arms.

The day of the sale

On the morning of the sale Mother went to register to bid. She had her longstanding Christie’s registration identity card, but for H.R.H. The Princess Margaret’s Sale Christie’s required that each bidder should also have a bank guarantee. 

Christie’s were exceptionally busy, with interest from buyers from all over the world, packed auction rooms and a great deal of anticipation. The guarantee arrived and Mother managed to register just before the sale was about to start. In her element, Mother found her place and with an incredible calmness went on to successfully bid and acquire two remarkable treasures.

One of which can just be spotted in this image. Image credit to The Order of Splendour Blog.