Great jewellery collectors — Marjorie Merriweather Post
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Many of the most famous pieces from Mrs. Post’s collection can be found at the Hillwood Museum that was her estate in Washington, D.C., and at the Smithsonian. Mrs. Post inherited a vast fortune from her father enabling her to indulge her love of gemstones. An independent woman, she was in the right place at the right time to collect jewels of first-class provenance.
“Mrs. Post became the owner of the Postum Cereal Company after her father’s death in 1914 and, through a series of mergers, built the company into the General Foods Corporation”
There were historic pieces from collections such as the Yusupovs’, which included Marie Antoinette’s diamond earrings and the large emerald carved with a 17th century Mughal motif of a flower that formed the centre of her emerald sautoir and bore a Persian engraving reading “The Servant of Shah Abbas”. Among her most prized possessions were two diamond rings from Harry Winston: the Blue Heart, a fancy deep blue diamond of 30.62 carats, and the Merriweather Post diamond, a 31.20-carat cushion-shaped stone.
“Among the jewels she frequently wore before giving them to the Smithsonian were the pear‐shaped diamond earrings that were found sewed into Marie Antoinette’s pocket when she was arrested at. Varennes”
Until her death in 1973, Mrs. Post continued to acquire the finest gems available. These included the Marie Louise diadem, which was part of a set given by Napoleon to his empress when they married in 1810. The diadem was originally set in emeralds and diamonds but Van Cleef & Arpels reset it in turquoise before selling it to Mrs. Post. Harry Winston then designed a magnificent turquoise and diamond necklace with matching pendant earrings, bracelet, brooch and ring to match, which Mrs. Post wore to many formal events.
“Weekly dances, especially square dances, were part of the schedule at all of Mrs. Post’s homes. Dancing was her favourite exercise. At her own houses, she supplied rubber caps for shoes so high heels would not scratch her floors.”
Perhaps as famous as her jewels is the home Mrs. Post built in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, which she bequeathed to the U.S. government for use as a presidential summer retreat. The government later sold Mar-a-Lago to Donald Trump.
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Image Source: The Jewellery Editor