Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Girl with the Seven-Pointed Star

From author Francine Mathews:
May I present Miss Jeanette Jerome, barely twenty years old, living in Paris and newly-engaged to Lord Randolph Churchill, the younger of the Duke of Marlborough's two sons? She's American. Privileged. Staring down her future with deadly purpose. It's a beautiful face, certainly, but grave and also haunting. In her black hair she has clipped a seven-pointed diamond star lent to her by her mother--probably in celebration of the engagement, and Jennie's transition from girl to woman. I'm guessing the pearls were a gift from her father, because pearls were suitable for debutantes and Leonard Jerome always knew what his girls liked. Jennie assumes she'll have lots of jewels to wear in future. She thinks a life of glamor and adventure lies ahead. She's right; but her husband's funds are never enough to bankroll her style, and the seven-pointed star remains her one flashing ornament. Until her mother takes it back, to give to Jennie's little sister, when Leonie in turn is betrothed. The star was probably fashioned by Louis-Francois Cartier, founder of Cartier jewelers. But that's my guess. Nobody really knows. Louis-Francois worked in an atelier next door to Charles Frederick Worth's fashion salon in Paris, where Jennie's trousseau was made. When wealthy clients demanded it, Worth's craftswomen embroidered gems in elaborate designs on their silk gowns--and Cartier supplied the stones. Eventually his clientele was broad and deep and wealthy enough that he opened a store of his own. (Read more.)
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