Diva’s diamonds fetch pretty penny

2012-10-09 00:00

THE personal jewellery of Durban diva Vivienne Linder sold for R2,4 million on auction yesterday, with one telephone bidder going all out for a pair of diamond earrings.

A total of 55 lots were sold, smashing pre-auction estimates by nearly R1 million as buyers rushed in to snap up their own piece of entertainment history.

Linder was an admired chanteuse who found a dedicated audience with her brand of cabaret and comedy in the middle of the last century.

Born Vivienne Adley in Durban in 1932, she made a name for herself in West End, before returning to the country of her birth to continue her musical and theatrical career.

Linder died last year in September and her two children decided to sell her collection of diamond and gold jewellery.

Among the items were 26 lots of Indian gold jewellery and period pieces dating from the 1920s to the 1940s. Also going under the hammer was a mid-1900s gold and enamel serpent necklace.

The auction was held in Cape Town by fine art specialists Strauss & Co and saw a pair of diamond ear pendants attract some furious bidding. Estimated before the auction at about R25 000, a telephone bidder went nearly 10 times higher and paid R233 940 for the dazzling earrings, said Strauss executive director Bina Genovese.

The jewellery was disposed of as part of Linder’s estate.

Linder was a pupil at Maris Stella and then studied singing and drama at the then-University of Natal. Her mentor was none other than local theatre doyenne Elizabeth Sneddon.

Linder furthered her training in London in 1957 and counted an audience with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace a year later as a particular highlight.

Linder returned to South Africa in 1960 and performed on stage in some memorable musical productions. Family life soon called and in 1965 she married London surgeon Leslie Linder and the couple had two children, Richard and Andrew.

Auctioneer and managing director of Strauss, Stephan Welz, said: “It is both an honour and a delight to have sold such a fine collection of jewellery, which was assembled by a lady of discriminatory taste and yet very glamorous.”

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