It is an altruistic gesture that is probably more likely to be seen in one of her novels, but today author Barbara Taylor Bradford announced that she was putting up her heirloom jewels for auction, but the proceeds of the sale are heading to an unexpected home.
The best-selling author is selling her jewellery collection to raise enough money to provide a nest egg for two women, who are being described as ‘wider family members’.
The collection of jewellery contains around 40 pieces, and it is originally thought that the 80-year-old author, who has no children of her own, was going to give the entire collection to the two women. But after some consideration, Miss Taylor Bradford decided to auction them off and raise money for the ladies, as she realised that the women would never wear them: “They didn’t really want it, I don’t think, because they don’t really lead the kind of life that I lead as a well-known writer, and I’m out and about.”
Amongst the jewellery collection are brooches, necklaces, rings and bracelets, and many of the items were presents from her husband Bob.
Miss Taylor Bradford explained that in her mind, the jewellery was being wasted by remaining in drawers at her home, and she recalled the advice from her father: “My father told me when I was a child, after he gave me a string of pearls: “You must always let them breath. They should be out on your neck, not buried in a drawer.” Why was all this buried in a drawer?, Well, I didn’t know.”
She then decided to bequeath the jewellery to her female relatives, but in the way of auctioning them off, to provide a trust fund for them: “Then I realised I was going to leave that jewellery to two of our female heirs. So Bob and I decided it might be nice to auction it and the money will be a little nest egg for them. Let somebody else enjoy those beautiful things.”
Yorkshire born Miss Taylor Bradford has sold over 88 million books worldwide, and this year celebrates her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband Bob. So as most of the jewellery that she is auctioning off was from her husband, is he happy with her decision to sell off her presents from him? “I happen to have a very generous husband, and he’s really bought everything that is going on auction,” she added: “I did say: “Is that alright? Are you agreeing to this?” And he said “Yes, of course. I bought it, but I gave it to you and it’s yours and you can do what you like with it”.
Many of the pieces that Miss Taylor Bradford hold precious memories for her, as she explains: “When I look at those things and when I was going back in time, because we are covering the 80s and the 90s, a lot of the memories of how he gave the piece to me sprang in to my mind.
I was very amused and very happy because I remember once for instance we were in vacation in Capri and I was reading on the terrace after breakfast and he said: “I’m just going for a walk to buy a newspaper”.
A little while later he returned with a large shopping bag full of newspapers. And then he suddenly reached in to the shopping bag and said: “I’ve bought you some flowers”. Flowers indeed! Sapphire, multi-coloured flowers in a necklace. He does things like that all the time.”
And it appears that although Miss Taylor Bradford could have easily bought her own jewellery, she saw that as her husband Bob’s responsibility: “The husband should be buying it for her. I don’t believe in buying your own jewellery if you’re a woman.”
Miss Taylor Bradford and her husband Bob obviously share a special bond, perhaps because they never had children, despite trying to in the past: “I had two miscarriages and never got pregnant again,’ she said. ‘But regrets are fruitless and you don’t miss a child you’ve never known. I would have liked a child; I didn’t have one. What am I going to do? I’ve got Bob.”
The collection will go on tour around the world and be on pre-sale display in October in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. It will then travel onto Hong Kong on 20th November. Finally, the Barbara Taylor Bradford auction will take place on December 5th at Bonhams Auction House London.
Picture credit: © Digital South