Jewels of the Countess of Romanones

Today marks the Anniversary of the death of Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones, who passed away on this day in 2017, at the age of 94. The American-born Spanish Countess had served as a spy during WWII and later for the CIA, and was a glamorous socialite who was friends with the Duchess of Windsor (who she once involved in a plot), Princess Grace of Monaco, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy among others. A member of the International Best Dressed List since 1962, the late Countess had a large collection of magnificent jewels, a couple of which she auctioned at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2011.

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This emerald and diamond parure is comprised of a necklace/tiara and earrings featuring 12 oval-shaped cabochon emeralds, and originated with the Maharaja Ajit Singh, son of the Maharaja of Kapurtala and the famous Spanish actress Anita Delgado, before it was sold to Luis Gil, remodelled, and acquired by the Countess of Romanones in the 1960s. While it was worn as a necklace, the Countess more famously wore her emeralds as a Tiara, as it was worn by Lucila Domecq Williams when she married her eldest son, the Count of Quintanilla in 1974. More recently, the Emerald Parure has been worn by Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg in 2014.

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The other major highlight of the sale was a a ruby and diamond necklace/brooch combination from the 1970s with a pair of ruby and diamond pendant earrings from the 1950s. The Countess wore the pieces as a ‘married’ demi-parure throughout her life, up until she put it up for sale.

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Other pieces in the Auction included a “Cadenas” diamond bracelet/watch gifted to the Countess by the Duchess of Windsor, symbolizing their close relationship.

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2 thoughts on “Jewels of the Countess of Romanones

  1. I really like the Countess’ jewels, especially the emerald necklace. I do think, however, that when it’s worn as a tiara, it would benefit from taking the lone emerald at the top out and re-purpose it as a brooch. That would give the tiara a much more pleasant appearance and look less like a necklace “conversion”. She wore it with what looks like a double row of diamonds at the base, so it would not be lacking in height. I wonder, does Corina zu Sayn-Wittgenstein own the necklace now or was it a loan for the night? The Countess of Romanones was very much in charge of her affairs. She did not lead a very conventional life, so I can see where she would be friends with the Duchess of Windsor.

    Liked by 1 person

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