The Londonderry Family Jewels

15th July 2021

A pair of diamond and Burmese ruby earrings from the Londonderry family jewels have sold at auction for £46,250. The earrings were sold with a family provenance to Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart (née Chaplin), Marchioness of Londonderry (1878-1959).

Chaplin, daughter of the 1st Viscount Chaplin, became the 7th Marquess when her husband inherited the family estates in 1915. At Mount Stewart in County Down she created a legendary garden, while at Londonderry House on Park Lane she assumed the role of influential London political hostess.

Her work with the Women’s Legion for Work in the First World War led to her being made the first-ever Dame Commander in the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire.

The Londonderry family jewels – a selection of which are now on loan to the jewellery gallery of the V&A – were famously spectacular.

Edith documented and researched the Down Diamonds, the Golconda Stomacher, the Turquoise Parure, the Siberian Emeralds and the Russian Amethysts, and the Bonaparte-Murat Pearls as well as the Antrim Rubies, while patronising the finest jewellers in London and Paris.

This pair of earrings, dating from the mid 19th century, came in an SJ Phillips case and with a GCS certificate stating that the cushion-cut rubies are natural Burmese stones with no indications of heat treatment.

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