See Lee Radziwill's Personal Treasures for Auction — Including a Bracelet from Sister Jackie O.
Lee Radziwill's Personal Treasures
Long before there were best dressed lists, there was Lee Bouvier Radziwill, one of the most stylish women in the world. Beginning on October 17, eight months after her death at age 85, Christie’s will host an auction with some of her most personal belongings, a rare chance to glimpse into the private world and impeccable style of Jackie Kennedy’s younger sister.
“She’s an American legend,” says Jonathan Rendell, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s. “Staggeringly classic.” From oversize sunglasses to Louis XVI chairs, to designer (and costume!) jewelry, here’s an exclusive peek at some of the treasures for sale (starting bids range from $200 to $60,000.) “This is someone who even out of the public eye, was totally fascinating to the public,” notes Rendell. And the buzz keeps growing. Says Rendell: “Basically the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.”
Look of Mystery
“Talk about signature,” says Rendell of the dozen pairs up for sale, including a Roger Vivier octagonal pair and this pair from Gucci, among other designer shades. “They’re so discreet as to be indiscreet,” he says. “It’s something both sisters were known for. And these sunglasses were something of an investment.”
Estimated value: $200-$300.
Set of Necklaces from Loulou de la Falaise, Armani and Prada
As for Lee’s taste in fabulous costume jewelry, Rendell says: “It doesn’t have to be real to look good. It has to look good.”
Estimated value: $500-$700
Diamond and white gold Christian Dior hoop “Coquine” earrings.
“She liked things that weren’t completely over the top,” says Rendell including these diamond hoops. “There’s a certain discreetness but everything had a luxury quality to it.”
Estimated value: $3,000-$5,000
French Art Deco Club Chairs
“Her apartment was white, pink and green,” says Rendell. “It’s the same palette running throughout, which makes the apartment look as large as possible. It was a stunning apartment.” As for her ongoing allure, he says: "She was of the last generation of women with huge style who lived glamorously but didn’t feel the need to share that with absolutely everybody on the planet. There’s still a mystery to her.”
Estimated value: $5,000-$7,000
Black Leather Tory Burch purse
“Miss Radziwill was very friendly with Tory Burch,” notes Rendel. “She had a lot of friends among the younger generation of women in New York and she did her best to encourage people to get out and see and do things. This bag was made for her. There’s a line called Lee Bags by Tory Burch and this was her copy of it.”
Estimated value: $300-$500
Graphic and Glamorous
Kenneth Jay Lane Necklace
“The auction has a number of costume pieces,” notes Rendell, including this metal-and-crystal piece by Kenneth Jay Lane. “It’s not how much it costs, it’s how you wear it.”
Estimated value: $500-$700
Look of Luxury
“These accessories were meant to be seen,” says Rendell. “A pair of earrings or a necklace that people are going to remember, but nothing in excess,” he notes of her taste in accessories. “It wasn’t grand society earrings, necklace, bracelet, and brooch, but earrings. Full stop. Necklace. Full stop.”
Estimated value: $600-$800
One-of-a-Kind Christmas Card
Photo collage by Peter Beard
This handmade collage for Christmas 2011 by artist and photographer (and Lee’s former lover) Peter Beard is signed: “Warmest memories of the last 40 years (Only) xxxx.
It’s hand painted in red ink and blood. “You can tell from the notes how close they were to each other,” explains Rendell discreetly.
Estimated value: $7,000-$9,000
Friendship Ring Like No Other
Taffin Amethyst and Tsavorite Garnet Ring
An oval cabochon amethyst surrounded by pave-set tsavorite garnets is inscribed “To Lee with love, Hamilton," and was given to her from a dear friend, Hamilton South. “Taffin is created by James de Givenchy, the nephew of Hubert de Givenchy,” notes Rendell. “James is the go to jeweler for ladies of the Upper East Side.”
Estimated value: $10,000-$15,000
Simple and Stunning
Gem Set Taffin Band of Rings (3)
“These rings sum up her color scheme: pink and green,” says Rendell. The rings are set with pink and red spinell (a gemstone) and green garnets. All set in an 18k gold band. Of her unique style, he says: “It’s very old world, combined with the girl who went to Miss Porters School, and on top of that, you layer her love of the exotic. It’s all a refined pared-down version of that.”
Estimated value: $2,000-$3,000
Moonstone & Gold Charm Bracelet from Jackie
These three moonstone cabochons are set in between yellow gold openwork, from which is suspended a whistle charm, inscribed on one side: “JLB from CLB July 28, 1949.” On the reverse: “Sifflez si tu me veux.” (Translation: Whistle if you want me.) “This is from Lee to Jackie [for her 20th birthday] and then Jackie returned it to Lee,” notes Rendell. “It was a bracelet to commemorate Jackie going off to France from college and Lee joined her there. It’s the basis of their travel book One Special Summer.”
Estimated value: $300-$500
Reading With Style
“She had several libraries of books,” notes Rendell, including first editions of Cecil Beaton, as well as volumes from Truman Capote, all authors she knew. “A library on interior décor, books on entertaining, such as how to set a table, how to place a napkin, all those things that were second nature to her, and then there are classical books she acquired as gifts,” notes Rendell. “She had books in both English and French. And you feel that everything’s been read. There’s also an album of first drafts of the speech JFK made in Berlin, his famous Ich bin ein Berliner (“I’m a Berliner”) speech. And Lee was with him in Berlin for that speech.”
Estimated value: $200-$300