Story of the jewels of Nancy Leeds, Princess Anastasia of Greece & Denmark.
Anastasia, Princess of Greece and Denmark née Nonie May Stewart (1878-1923) was born in Zanesville, Ohio, to William Charles Stewart, a wealthy merchant and his first wife Mary Holden. By 1880, the Stewart family had moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where it appears that May's mother died not long afterward, and her father remarried. May was educated at home until the age of seventeen, when she was sent to Miss Porter's School for Young Ladies in Farmington, Connecticut. After that, she was soon introduced to high society.
On 1 October 1894 in Cleveland, she married George Ely Worthington. However, the marriage was not successful and the couple lived as husband and wife for only four years, before they divorced in 1899. They had no children.
On 3 August 1900, May married for the second time to William Bateman Leeds, a wealthy businessman from Indiana, who had made millions of dollars in the tin-plating business. He divorced his wife in 1900 and a few days later married Nancy Stewart Worthington. Forever after some would refer to her as Nancy Leeds or Mrs. William Leeds and the couple had a son, William Bateman Leeds, Jr., born in 1902.
Mr. Leeds died in 1908, leaving a fortune estimated at 35 million dollars to his surviving relatives.
Since she and her husband had lived in Paris, May chose to stay in Europe instead of returning to the United States, where she socialised among the aristocracy.
A few years after her husband's death, she met Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest son of King George I of Greece. They fell in love with each other and got married in 1920
, despite great dissatisfaction from the prince's family. Four days after the wedding, May joined the Greek Orthodox church and took, as was usual, a new Christian name: Anastasia. Thereafter, she was officially styled as HRH Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark.
Occasionally she was referred to as Princess Christopher or Princess Christophe. It seemed that May had finally found peace, but shortly after her marriage to Prince Christopher, May was diagnosed with cancer. She died three years later in 1923, at the age of 45 and was buried in the Bronx, New York City.
Cartier made headline news in 1910 when they sold a necklace for Fr 2,85 million 570 000USD.
consisting of thirty-nine pearls alternating with diamond roundels, to Nancy Leeds.
She was involved in a long-drawn-out court case with the American government about another necklace, which she had bought from Bernard Citroen in Paris in 1906 and which was valued $220 000. The pearls which Mrs Leeds had imported loose into the country were initially taxed at 60per cent of the purchase price. The case dragged on for years, during which time Mrs Leeds lost her husband and it was not until 1911 that the customs authorities declared themselves satisfied with a 10 per cent duty and paid back the disputed sum of $110.335.
The newspaper reports provoked by the affair took up almost as many columns as the sale of the Hope diamond, which Cartier was then transacting.
The affair came to the ears of Edward VII, who was passing through Paris on the way to Biarritz when Cartier showed him a perfect black pearl. The king hesitated over buying it and only later learned from Pierre Cartier that it had been sold in the meantime to Nancy Leeds.
Shortly after, when King Edward and Nancy Leeds were staying at the Hotel Bristol in Paris, he sent word via Carter, that he would be flattered by the favour of seeing her pearls.
The very charming Mrs Leeds was after that meeting a frequent visitor at the English court.
The world's most expensive pearl necklace was for a time owned by Cartier and offered to Edward VII, the German Emperor and the King of Portugal among others.
It may possibly be the same as a necklace recorded in Cartier's Archives in 1910, made up of thirty seven pearls weighing 947 grains.
Was it perhaps offered by Mrs Leeds in part payment for the much more expensive necklace she bought from Cartier the same year?
Nothing is known yet......
At the time when bandeaux were beginning to be worn with aigrettes, a fashion which was launched by Paul Poiret, Cartier designed a model in 1914 for Nancy Leeds surmounted by a single drop pearl.
Multimillionär William B. Leeds Sr. (1861-1908) kennengelernt haben , der den Spitznamen "Zinn König " trägt. Letzterer braucht nicht lange, um nach seiner Hand zu fragen, und das Paar schließt sich zusammen 3. August 1900, nur wenige Tage nach der Scheidung des Bräutigams. In den folgenden Jahren führen das Paar großen Stil in einem Herrenhaus befindet sich in 987 der Fifth Avenue in New York
. Im Jahr 1904 bot William Leeds seiner Frau die Domäne von Rough Point , in Rhodes Island. Im Jahr 1906 gab er ihr eine Perlenhalskette auf nicht weniger als 220.000 geschätzt Dollar.
Mit ihrem Vermögen erwirbt Nancy eine prächtige Villa im Stadtteil Grosvenor Square in London. Sie sammelt Schmuck und wird von der Presse für den Kauf einer Halskette aus 39 Perlen und Diamanten bei Cartier zu einem Preis von 570.000 Dollar . Der Geschmack der jungen Frau für Schmuck ist auch so wichtig, dass Pierre Cartier ihr in seinem Haus seinen eigenen Salon widmet..
Nancy wird die Freundin von Lady Paget, einer anderen amerikanischen Erbin, und schafft es, in die Welt der Aristokratie zu verkehren. In Paris trifft sie König Edward VII. Von Großbritannien , der von ihrem Schmuck beeindruckt ist.
Sources:Cartier archive,Nadelhoffer Cartier;
Juwelen aus der Schmuckschatulle der Königin von Griechenland |
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