John F. Kennedy once described his wife Jackie’s style as “fey.” What does it mean to be fey? According to the dictionary “fey” means to possess an “otherworldly, magical, or fairy like aspect or quality.” I would agree that Jackie’s style was indeed magical. The proof is some forty years after her one thousand days in the White House, a line of Jacqueline Kennedy “reproductions” is selling like hotcakes on QVC.com. Jackie would’ve been 80 years old this year. In 1996 her some of her jewelry, art and furniture were sold at auction at Sotheby’s. I was one of the fashion faithful who enjoyed reading the Sotheby’s catalog to get a glimpse of her extensive jewelry collection and her love for fine things.
Her collection of jewelry included costume pieces from Chanel (her pearls), Elsa Schiaparelli (the morning mist bracelet, earrings and brooch in the QVC collection), plus pieces JFK bought for her at Tiffany’s and Van Cleef & Arpels. In her time as First Lady she also received some beautiful jewelry from various heads of state as “gifts.” One beautiful piece she received from the Queen of England was a reproduction of a bracelet that Henry the Eight gave to his third wife Jane Seymour. A replica of this piece is now in the QVC collection. So how did some of Jackie’s treasures come to be reproduced and now accessible to all? The Kennedy family agreed to work with jeweler Camrose and Kross a few years ago to create replicas of some of Jackie’s pieces. Camrose & Kross set about choosing a selection of brooches, earrings, watches, rings and pendants that were Bouvier family heirlooms or gifts from JFK and others. The pieces were sold by Camrose & Kross as well as by the JFK museum gift shop and website. QVC then picked up the line and began selling it on their shopping network. Replicas of some of Jackie’s handbags and sunglasses have been added to show additional elements of her style. On the Kennedy library website, you can see the individual jewelry pieces along with the story of how the piece came to be in Jackie’s collection. Some of the pieces have a romantic history, as they were gifts from JFK. One such piece is the Circle Bracelet, give to Jackie by JFK after the birth of Caroline Kennedy, signifying how their marriage had come full circle with a new addition.
You can read the history behind each piece online at the Kennedy library site, or listen to it on QVC.com. Each time QVC airs the Jacqueline Kennedy collection, commentary is provided by Kennedy historian Philip Katz on the pieces. This soft spoken historian is fascinating to listen to. There are no special effects or reenactments to his stories. He uses a plain number two pencil and old black and white photos to tell the story of Jackie’s jewelry interwoven with her life. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s worth watching the show to listen to the history of Jackie’s jewelry collection. After listening to the show, I purchased two of the bracelets, one on eBay and one on QVC com. (Sometimes, I’ll buy on eBay if the price is better.) For the price, I’m really pleased with the pieces. With the earrings, drop pieces can be added and detached for different looks. Jackie had impeccable style, so it’s wonderful to find that style at an affordable price. QVC has included reader reviews on the pieces on their website. Be sure to check out what other shoppers think of the collection and their level of satisfaction with it before you buy.
Today’s New York Times Style section has an article of the style of First Ladies today including Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Even the rogue style of Sarah Palin is mentioned. But for me, nothing is more vogue than Jackie’s style. You can see her influence on France’s Mrs. Sarkozy today. Mrs, Sarkozy has been known to wear pill box hats, brooches and bracelets in her public appearances.
In today’s economy a classy piece of jewelry is a good way to dress up clothes from your closet and add a stylish touch to them. You can find cheap costume jewelry just about anywhere, but none so chic as Jackie’s. Where else are you going to find jewelry first designed by Tiffany, watches first designed by Chopard, antique pendant crosses and Coco Chanel’s costume pearls for under $100.00 US? I wonder what Jacqueline would think of reproductions of her jewelry (made in China) being sold on QVC. Somehow I think she might be quite pleased that people still found the pieces as beautiful as she did. “Fey” is a good word to describe it.