WEDDING GIFT FROM STEP-SISTER JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS
Nina Straight fondly recalls the special day her step-sister Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave her a pair of gold cuff bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels. “They were a gift from Jackie for my wedding to Michael Straight in 1974,” Straight tells The Intelligent Collector. “We were married at St. John’s Cathedral in New York. Jackie gave them to me at the luncheon after the ceremony.”
Straight, a journalist who worked as Washington bureau chief for the Chattanooga Times from 1963 until 1971, was a witness to history in more ways than one. After her parents divorced, her father Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr. married Janet Lee Bouvier, mother of the future first lady. Nina was Jackie’s maid of honor when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953 at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, R.I. Jackie was Nina’s matron of honor when she married Michael Straight 20 years later.
Jacqueline (1929–1994) knew Nina would like the cuffs, and, in fact, had her own pair, which she wore in public often. “Jackie loved hers so much that she bought me a pair knowing I would enjoy them equally,” says Straight, whose half-brother is writer Gore Vidal (1925-2012). “I always viewed myself as Jackie’s ‘Sancho Panza’ or sidekick. I did the dirty work. We had so much fun. Ours was a very close relationship.”
After 42 years, Straight has decided to auction her bracelets. “My wrists are now old and not so pretty,” she says. “They don’t look good on me anymore.” Where does she hope they end up? “On the wrists of someone fun-loving!”
Jackie’s cuffs last sold at auction in 2011 for $128,500. “Looking at previous auctions of similar bracelets, it’s clear these Van Cleef & Arpels cuffs are popular and highly sought-after pieces of jewelry,” says Jill Burgum, Heritage Auctions’ senior director of fine jewelry. “Collectors will appreciate how this pair was personally selected and gifted by Jackie, an icon of American sophistication and fashion.”