Wallis Simpson bracelet sets $7.3m record

LONDON: A bracelet owned by Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Edward VIII led to his abdication, has sold for a world record £4.5 million ($7.3 million) at auction.

The Cartier-designed onyx-and-diamond panther bracelet was sold at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday night. It is the highest price any bracelet has ever been sold for at auction. It also became the most expensive Cartier item to be sold at any auction.

It was one of 20 pieces owned by the late duke and duchess of Windsor to go under the hammer in the sale, which raised a total of £8 million, dwarfing estimates of about £3 million.

A ruby, sapphire, emerald, citrine and diamond Cartier flamingo clip was one of the other big successes of the night, reaching £1.7 million. All prices include the buyer's premium.

David Bennett, the chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery in Europe and the Middle East, said the duchess was ''a leader of fashion and the epitome of elegance and sophistication for her generation and beyond''. ''The offering comprises not only incomparable examples of the genius of Cartier in collaboration with the Windsors, but also pieces whose inscriptions tell the story of perhaps the greatest love story of the 20th century, the romance that led Edward VIII to abdicate the throne of Great Britain.''

The Cartier bracelet was made in Paris in 1952. It is 195 millimetres long and reached its record-breaking price despite missing several small stones.

Press Association