Sunday, August 19, 2018

Peggy Hopkins Joyce by Raymond P.R. Neilson and the Portuguese Diamond

A portrait of Peggy Hopkins Joyce by Raymond P.R. Neilson.

This past spring at Sotheby’s the personal collection of Fred Leighton was offered at auction and included jewelry, furnishings, and art. Fred Leighton (real name Murray Mondschein) was known as a jeweler and if you have ever watched a red carpet in the past twenty years you know his work because he became famous for putting vintage and estate jewelry on stars like Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, and Michelle Williams, among many others. He died in July 2017.

The jewelry offered in his personal collection contained all the great houses—Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, to name a few—and his furnishings showed his love of both travel and color.


One of the paintings in his collection was this portrait of Peggy Hopkins Joyce by Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson (1881-1964). I could not take my eyes off of it! Neilson did a superb job of capturing an elegant lady and I loved the details of her dress and jewelry. I read over at the Frick Collection website that Neilson was a New York City portraitist. I think he was so talented!

Love these jewelry details.

Wearing the Portuguese Diamond.

Have a look at the gem around her neck. What I did not realize at the time when I first saw this painting is that Peggy is wearing a very famous diamond. I read that it is known as “the Portuguese Diamond,” is an Asscher cut, and weighs 127.01 carats, with a clarity grade of VS1. The name was given to the stone by Harry Winston, who acquired the diamond from Peggy in 1951. Wikipedia says Peggy got it from Black, Starr & Frost in February 1928 for the trade of a $350,000 pearl necklace and $23,000 in cash. Winston traded it in 1963 to the Smithsonian Institute for 3,800 carats’ worth of smaller diamonds. It is on display in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The diamond has strong blue fluorescence, which appears even in daylight or incandescent light. GIA says the blue fluorescence masks the faint yellow color of the stone. They graded it an M in color when they examined it in 1997. Fascinating! You can read even more details on the Smithsonian site.

The Portuguese Blue Diamond. Photo by Harold and Erica Van Pelt, courtesy of GIA.

There was a reference to Peggy in the book I read recently Wallis in Love: The Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy by Andrew Morton. He called her “the international gold digger and sometime actress” who traveled to the South of France with Lady Furness’s husband, Lord Marmaduke Furness. Lady Furness was born Thelma Morgan, and her twin sister was Gloria, who later became a Vanderbilt. In retaliation for her husband taking off with Peggy, Lady Furness began her campaign to seduce the Prince of Wales, which was a success. They were lovers for five years. Thelma was the only who introduced him to Wallis Simpson.

But back to Peggy, “international gold digger,” what a moniker! I didn’t realize she was an actress but sure enough, IMDB credits her with a few roles. Her photos don’t look nearly as fine as the Neilson portrait of her. I read that she was married six times and was known for her affairs with wealthy men. This probably explains how she was able to afford the Portuguese Diamond! Being the jeweler that he was, I am sure Fred Leighton knew all about the diamond Peggy was wearing in the painting and possibly even bought the picture because of it!

Let me know what you think of this painting of Peggy Hopkins Joyce or if you know anything about her or the artist Raymond P.R. Neilson or have visited with the Portuguese Diamond.

Monday, August 13, 2018

How Do You Store Your Jewels?

A J. Crew Factory jewelry tray holding Alex & Ani bracelets and my favorite long earrings!

I finally realized I have a jewelry organization problem. I figured it out when I noticed that I have six separate stashes of jewelry, both fine and faux, in different spots around the bedroom plus a medium-sized box of pieces that I consider seasonal. It was when I was looking for my summer jewelry that I realized I didn’t know where half of it was and couldn’t put my hands on any of it easily! I eventually located everything I was looking for in a cardboard box—each piece safely nestled within their own smaller boxes—but it only reminded me that I forget about what I own all the time because I am not seeing it on a regular basis.

A J. Crew dish with Carolee brooch and CrewCuts bracelet my girl owns.

Pieces that I wear daily like rings and stud earrings end up in various jewelry dishes and trays, and, of course, because I see them they get more regular wear. I have picked up a few trays from J. Crew or J. Crew Factory. The small round blue and white dish below came from Pearl River Mart in Chinatown.

A tiny bowl of rings.

I do love the jewelry trays on top of a dresser or bookshelf but they can’t hold much and I am thinking it’s time to get more organized about storing jewelry so I could see it all regularly and get more wear out of each piece. I like the idea of opening a dresser drawer and finding my entire jewelry wardrobe there so I could have easy access to it. I found this neutral-colored set of four stackable jewelry trays by Stock Your Home on Wikibuy. I like the look of them, that kind of golden-beige shade would allow the colors of the jewelry to stand out. Maybe these organizers would make me feel like I was perusing my own private jewelry boutique if I could open a drawer and find a lot of what I own stored in them instead of seeing box after box stacked in various spots and not remembering what is inside!

Stock Your Home Stackable Jewelry Trays. Photo courtesy of Wikibuy.

If you have any tips on storing jewelry, let me know. Do you switch out what you see regularly due to the season? Do you use a jewelry organizer or trays, or are you more haphazard about it like me? Do you keep the fine jewelry you own in a safe? I would love to hear how other ladies and gents take care of their jewelry when they are not wearing it!

As for Wikibuy, I like that everything on their site is arranged to show me what my options are from different online retailers for an item I am in the market for and then shows me which retailer will sell me that item for the best price. It seems a lot easier and more organized than a Google shopping search, which is a way I have shopped for things in the past when I haven’t gone directly to a store’s website. I can also search for coupon offers or go straight to a store’s home page, which are other nice features. They will also alert you if the item on your watch list goes on sale! I was able to hone in on these jewelry organizers immediately and am already thinking of how I can clear out a drawer to make room for them. I might need to buy two sets!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the lovely people at Wikibuy but all opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Princess Charlene at the Monaco Red Cross Ball 2018

Albert & Charlene at the Red Cross Ball 2018. A nice photo of them!

It’s always fun to see what Princess Charlene wears to the annual Monaco Red Cross Ball and I think this may be one of my favorite evening looks I’ve ever seen on her! I read over at The Royal Couturier that Charlene wore Atelier Versace to the ball, held on July 27, 2018. The silver evening bag is by them as well. I love the intricate beading on this dress so much, along with the dégradé color. The people who create these gowns are extremely talented and Charlene wears this dress very well!

Love the back bodice detailing of this dress! Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis.

The full shot. Stunning!

Note the simple studs paired with an ear crawler!

Earrings both simple and edgy!

Love the diamond bangle too.

I was glad to see that the jewelry look was all about diamonds and of course Charlene mixed it up a bit, pairing tiny diamond studs with a diamond ear crawler on her left ear. I also loved the simple diamond bangle and I wonder if that is her amazing (and huge) engagement ring on her left hand, which I wish she would wear more often. It’s clear by now that she prefers to keep it pretty pared down in the gem department most of the time but I do love it when she gets her big diamond ring out! The Royal Couturier says it’s by Repossi and thinks the rest of her jewelry is too. You can read her full write-up here. A lot of the photos I used in this post came from The Daily Mail and their article about the event is here.

Magnificent beading, great bag, and is that her e-ring I spy?

I do not know if Charlene has a stylist or just works with designers within individual fashion houses (maybe both?) but I continue to love how she dresses for her position, body type, and personal style, whether she is making the selections herself or with the help of an assistant. This dress is another winner for me, it looks good on her from every angle and in different lighting. Check out how beautiful it is on the dance floor under the pinky-purple lights!

On the dance floor with Albert.

Let me know what you think of Charlene’s look!