Wallis Simpson’s costume jewels fetch thousands

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Collection of jewels by Alexis Kirk sold to international buyers.

A collection of costume jewellery designed by Alexis Kirk that once belonged to Wallis Simpson has sold at auction for thousands of pounds.

The jewellery was sold to international buyers bidding over the internet and telephone by Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions in London yesterday.

The jewellery made by Kirk and worn by Simpson that went under the gavel included: a metal bead and feather necklace from 1970 that sold for £2,684; three cork, wood and gilt metal beaded necklaces from 1965 that sold for £2,196; a gilt metal Egyptian-style bib and matching ear clips that sold for £1,830; a gilt metal and simulated lapis lazuli necklace and ring that sold for £2,074; and an Egyptian-style body sculpture necklace that sold for £2,440.

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Simpson was an infamous jewellery magpie, building up a collection of fine and fashion jewels, and it would seem that her influence continues to hold sway in the auction room. This successful auction of fashion jewellery follows a phenomenal sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s fine jewellery in December that smashed records and brought in nearly £8 million when it appeared at Sotheby’s in December.

Speaking of costume jewellery, Simpson was famously quoted as saying: "I hate to admit it but I am absolutely fascinated by fake jewellery at the moment. I think it is so good."

The Kirk connection also added sparkle to the auction. The designer, whose high-quality costume jewellery was most prolific among the well-heeled in the 1960s and 1970s, has a body of work that is highly coveted and collectable. 

It was Kirk’s family who brought this five-piece jewellery collection to sale. The designer had bought back the pieces that he had designed for Simpson at a Sotheby’s sale in 1998 to keep in his private collection.

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