Duchess of Argyll’s Cartier Ruby Brooch

Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of the infamous Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, who passed away on this day in 1993! The glamorous Heiress who married & divorced an American Golfer before becoming a Duchess and being the victim of a notorious divorce case, the Duchess had an amazing jewellery collection (which we will feature soon), and on this anniversary we are focusing on her Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch!

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This Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch featuring a cluster of Burmese Rubies in a distinctly Cartier style (UPDATE: The Brooch is from a 1955 Cartier collection) appeared on the Duchess of Argyll around the early 1950s, with It is more than likely that the Brooch was acquired by the Duchess herself, maybe as a consolation gift for jewellery stolen from her London home in 1954.

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One of the first notable appearences of the Cartier Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch came at the Coming-Out Ball for the Duchess’ daughter, Frances Sweeny (later the Duchess of Rutland), at Claridges Hotel in London in 1955.

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The Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch was also worn for less formal events through the 1950s and 1960s, making a statement on the edge of a cocktail dress, and was among the jewels that the Duchess retained after her notorious divorce from the Duke, after he broke into her cupboard and found incriminating photographs of her with various men, including with a famous ‘Headless Man’ whose identity continues to be unknown.

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Now styled as ‘Margaret, Duchess of Argyll’, she suffered from negative press and lost much of her fortune but remained a figure at society events, like a Ball at Belvoir Castle, the seat of her son-in-law, the Duke of Rutland, in 1965, when the Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch was paired with her Trefoil Tiara and her iconic three-strand pearl necklace. The current location of the Brooch (and the rest of her jewels) is unknown but the Duchess suffered a robbery in 1970 and financial difficulties in the 1970s and 80s, which may mean that this was sold, though it may also belong to her daughter, the Dowager Duchess of Rutland!

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UPDATE: In 2020, an identical Cartier Diamond and Ruby Brooch was worn by Timothée Chalamet to the Academy Awards, on loan from Cartier, which (thanks to British Royal Jewels), is the Duchess of Argyll’s Brooch.

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