Mitford Magic: Duchess of Devonshire’s brooch triples estimate at Bonhams London Jewels Sale


A Belle Époque aquamarine and diamond brooch, once owned by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, achieved nearly triple its pre-sale estimate at Bonhams London Jewels sale on September 22, 2021, at New Bond Street, London.

The large oval-cut aquamarine brooch, set horizontally within a delicate border of old brilliant and single-cut diamondssold for £94,000 against an estimate of £25,000-35,000.


 Credit: Bonhams

The 150-Lot sale achieved a total of £3,604,410, with 82% sold by lot and 91% sold by value. 

Emily Barber, Head of Bonhams Jewellery Department, UK, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results of today’s sale, and especially the wonderful price achieved for the truly spectacular aquamarine jewel that was once owned by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. Not only was this an exquisite piece, it also had an exceptional provenance. The Duchess can be seen wearing the brooch in a photograph alongside Cecil Beaton at the ‘White Ball’, held by Prince Rupert Loewenstein (the financial manager of The Rolling Stones) at his home in Holland Park in 1969. No wonder that it dazzled bidders.”

Born in 1920, Debo – as she was widely known – was one of the six aristocratic Mitford Sisters who enthralled the public with their stylish – often controversial – lives, as well as their contrasting political views. The family was immortalised by her eldest sister, Nancy, in the novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. In 1941, she married Lord Andrew Cavendish, son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, who succeeded to the dukedom in 1950. She was châtelaine of Chatsworth for more than 50 years.