Few names in Hollywood can match the fashion cachet of Marlene Dietrich. The Blue Angel is known not only for her impeccable acting chops, but her refined and daring style choices that made her an enduring fashion icon. Her whimsical taste in jewels is what drew Anne Eisenhower (the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower) to acquire Dietrich’s most famous bauble, the Jarretière bracelet, at an auction of the actress’ estate in 1992. The Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet co-starred alongside Dietrich in the 1950 Hitchcock murder mystery Stage Fright. She wore the impressive piece to the 1951 Academy Awards and was photographed with it many times.
It was created when Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front and Dietrich’s lover, suggested that she take several of her jewelry pieces and have them remade into something magnificent. The result was the impressive Jarretière—a cuff-style bracelet comprising baguette-cut diamonds surrounded by a wide disc of vibrant cushion-cut rubies trimmed with a ring of delicate diamonds. The underside is set with countless pavé diamonds so that the bracelet can sparkle from every angle. It’s no wonder it was one of Dietrich’s beloved pieces. The actress held on to the bracelet until her death, even after financial setbacks forced her to let go of most of her jewel collection. Eisenhower added her name to the Jarretière’s impressive provenance when she purchased the piece anonymously in 1992. A scion of one of America’s preeminent families, she was widely recognized for her flawless and timeless taste as an interior designer and collector. The unique bracelet’s sophisticated whimsy was a perfect match for Eisenhower’s keen eye for exceptional design. “This jewel transcends the jewelry world. It is impressive and striking, whether you have a love for jewelry, an appreciation for art and craftsmanship or even architectural design. This bracelet is one of one. There is nothing quite like it. As jewelry continues to evolve and change, the Jarretière remains uniquely contemporary and awe-inspiring, even 85 years later,” says Jacqueline DiSante of Christie’s, which will be offering the bracelet as the star lot of the auction The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower on June 7.