17 September 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Eisenhower Necklace Tiara

The Eisenhower Necklace Tiara
It's not often that we get to talk about a tiara with a presidential connection, but this little gem gives us just such an opportunity. With silver-topped gold, fourteen button-shaped pearls, and diamonds in various cuts (single, rose, and old mine-cut) totaling around 4.7 carats, this scroll design has detachable sides and can be worn as a tiara or a necklace. It has a fitted case stamped Carrington & Co. Jewellers, the English firm, but we know it from its American association: the jewel belonged to Mamie Doud Eisenhower (1896-1979), the wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
Mamie Eisenhower (second left) wearing the necklace as First Lady in 1959
I don't know if Mrs. Eisenhower ever wore it as a tiara, but she did wear it as a necklace during her time at the White House, as shown above. Tiaras are so associated with royalty today, it would certainly cause an uproar to see one worn by a first lady in the United States (as it would in many other countries). Even taking the tiara portion out of the equation, a substantial jewel collection alone could be turned into a controversy now. But fifty-odd years ago, Mrs. Eisenhower had some nice pieces in her collection, and she wore them to official functions when appropriate.
That collection is how we come to know of this tiara/necklace, because it is among pieces belonging to the Eisenhowers that are now being offered for sale at Sotheby's. This one has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Another piece up for auction is a platinum and diamond necklace and earclip set that boasts around 35 carats of diamonds all together and was worn, among other occasions, for a state banquet at the White House in 1957 for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
The Eisenhower pieces will be sold at the Important Jewels sale on September 24th and 25th. They'll also be among those exhibited at Sotheby's Runway of Jewels opening on September 19th.

Would you make this a part of your collection?

P.S.: It's a two post day! Keep scrolling.

Photos: Sotheby's / Getty Images / White House