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Show offers chance for glance at Marilyn Monroe jewelry

November 22, 1999

Marilyn Monroe jewelryBy JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Tri-State area residents will have a chance to see some of Marilyn Monroe's jewelry close up this week thanks to a local jeweler and collector.

Jeweler Christopher Rankin said he pursued the late movie star's jewelry because Monroe was a pop icon and an important figure in American history.

"Even today, some 40 years later, she's as popular as she was then," said Rankin, 34.

Those qualities meant Monroe's jewelry fit the mold for the collection Rankin has built up for his jewelry store in the Maddex Square shopping center, Christian Caine Jewelers.

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The collection includes an Irish charm bracelet that belonged to President John F. Kennedy and jewelry that belonged to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The collection is not kept on display, nor will the items from the Kennedys or royals be brought out during the Monroe exhibit, Rankin said.

After an initial display for the public, the jewelry is sent to the bank for safekeeping, he said. If someone is seriously interested in buying an item, an appointment can be arranged to see it.

Approximately 15 to 18 Monroe items Rankin bought from last month's auction in New York will be available for viewing by the public between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

An invitation-only show will be held Tuesday evening, although invitations may be obtained by calling Christian Caine Jewelers at 1-304-876-1313 from West Virginia or 1-800-942-2463 from Maryland or Pennsylvania.

Rankin said he expects about 200 people at the private showing.

While he wouldn't say how much he spent on the Monroe items, he said the cost of setting up the show - not including the cost of the jewelry - is approximately $10,000.

Rankin's Monroe collection includes some silver bangle bracelets, a rhinestone broach, a rhinestone necklace and a gold choker.

While Monroe sang "Diamonds Are Forever," there was no diamond jewelry on sale in last month's auction, Rankin said.

In fact, Rankin is aware of only one piece of diamond jewelry owned by Monroe - her wedding band, which featured a diamond.

Rankin's favorite piece of his new Monroe collection is a 2-inch, 19th century, hand-carved cameo pin from Italy, which he won't sell.

Selling some of the items allows Rankin to reinvest in his collection, he said.

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