Cherie Burns is the author of SEARCHING FOR BEAUTY: The Life of Millicent Rogers (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) and THE GREAT HURRICANE: 1938 (Grove/Atlantic, 2005). Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, People, Glamour, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and The Wall Street Journal.
DIVING FOR STARFISH: The Jeweler, the Actress, the Heiress and One of the World’s Most Alluring Pieces of Jewelery
“Part history, part investigative journalism, part personal quest, DIVING FOR STARFISH is filled with drama and intrigue, and peopled by a cast of characters worthy of THE MALTESE FALCON.”
—Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal
The House of Boivin, purveyor of sumptuous jewelry to the wealthy of the world, created five ruby and amethyst starfish brooches in the uncertain years preceding the Second World War. The pieces have moved beneath the surface of public awareness ever since, bought and sold in the utmost secrecy, spoken of but seldom seen. DIVING FOR STARFISH is journalist Cherie Burns’s intimate chronicle of these five legendary artifacts, the secrets they have held in the 75 years they have adorned the high societies of New York and Paris, and the larger-than-life personalities who feature in their tale: among them a brilliant French jewelry designer, an American Standard Oil heiress and fashion icon, and an Academy-Award-winning star of stage and screen.
Burns’s pursuit of these three ruby starfish, considered among the most important jewels of the twentieth century, carries us along through the romantic passions, intrigues, squabbles—and sometimes even bedrooms—of everyone who ever owned or sold one. Her hunt for these histories reveals that on the unregulated, swashbuckling frontier of jewelry collection, the transparent cases in the showrooms bear no resemblance to the mystery and intrigue of the backrooms, where fortunes are lost and made.
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SEARCHING FOR BEAUTY: The Life of Millicent Rogers
“. . . the legacy of an American fashion icon gets her due . . .”
The life of Millicent Rogers is a tale of money, sex, and style. This is the first biography of the Standard Oil heiress, beautiful, well-bred and wild, who made her mark on the worlds of high society and haute couture in New York, Europe, and Hollywood as a preamble to her romantic reinvention in Taos, New Mexico in the 1940s. In Taos she became the creator and exporter of southwestern style to New York, and the classic American western style that she popularized extends to the present. Her life story is of a beautiful and intelligent woman that begins in the Age of Innocence, arcs on a trajectory of intense and indulgent living, and ends in a southwestern idyll of liberation and free expression. It is one woman’s relentless reinvention and personal metamorphosis through her pursuit of style and beauty.