Born in 1881 in Paris the eldest of four daughters of Edward and Florence Deacon, the well-established, extremely wealthy Americans, Gladys grew up to be the most intelligent and most beautiful of the sisters. Marcel Proust wrote after meeting her “I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.”
It was during a trip to London in 1898, that Gladys first met the Duke of Marlborough. He and his American-born wife, Consuelo Vanderbilt, succumbed to Gladys’ charm and immediately invited her to their home, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. It was the beginning of a strong friendship. It was not long after, in 1907, that the marriage of the Marlboroughs’ ended in legal separation followed by divorce fourteen years later. By this time, Gladys had become the Duke’s mistress and promptly accepted his marriage proposal.
It was during the 1920s and early 1930s that she acquired some truly wonderful jewels such as those offered here for sale.
The marriage of the Marlboroughs ended in divorce in 1933 and Gladys disappeared from the limelight and social arena.
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