Today marks the 30th 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, from which we are featuring her spectacular Diamond Earrings!
A pair of spectacular Art Deco Diamond Fringe Earrings, which were acquired at Cartier, the provenance of these jewels are unknown but they were likely a wedding gift to the then Margaret Whigham when she married American golfer Charles Sweeny in 1933. The Earrings were most likely a gift from her father, Scottish millionaire George Hay Whigham.
Margaret Sweeny was a glamorous society figure through the decades, being frequently photographed wearing her Art Deco Diamond Fringe Earrings on a myriad of occasions though the 1930s and 1940s, including after her divorce in 1947.
After her marriage to the Duke of Argyll in 1951, she acquired her Cartier Diamond Shamrock Tiara, which was paired with the Diamond Earrings and a three-strand Diamond Necklace at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, during which the glamorous Duchess sat in the front row of the Peeresses and was frequently filmed or photographed.
The Duchess was also painted wearing the Art Deco Diamond Fringe Earrings in a portrait by Sir Herbert James Gunn, continuing to wear them for numerous portraits and galas, including the Coronation Ball at the Royal Albert Hall in 1953, as well as for more frequent cocktail parties.
After the Coming-Out Ball for the Duchess’ daughter, Frances Sweeny (later the Duchess of Rutland), at Claridges Hotel in London in 1955, when the Duchess debuted her Cartier Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch, one of the final notable appearences of the Art Deco Diamond Fringe Earrings came at the 21st Birthday Gala for her son, Brian Sweeny, at Claridges Hotel in 1961.
The current location of the Diamond Earrings is unknown as the Duchess suffered a robbery in 1970 and financial difficulties in the 1970s and 80s, which may mean that they were stolen or sold. However, they may also belong to her daughter, the Dowager Duchess of Rutland, though some pieces, like her Art Deco Diamond and Ruby Brooch, have returned into the Cartier Collection!