Yard Player: Joan Crawford’s Divorce Ring

Not much about Joan Crawford’s life can be described as “amicable.” But the legendary diva and her second husband, actor Franchot Tone, stayed friendly after their 1939 divorce. The proof is on her finger.

To commemorate the split, Tone gave Crawford this gold ring topped with a 104.52 ct. rectilinear amethyst from one of her favorite jewelers, Raymond C. Yard. The actress owned several of his pieces—including a wide bracelet with three star sapphires (73.15, 63.61, and 57.65 cts.) and a few diamond bracelets made with his signature mixed cuts. “The varied shapes caused the pieces to reflect light in so many different ways,” explains Bob Gibson, who now runs Yard’s company. “You couldn’t avoid being drawn to each distinction.”

Gibson’s dad, Yard’s original successor, was working at the salon one weekend when Crawford popped in to shop. “Mr. Yard was very, very warm. My father was still in high school and Mr. Yard said to Joan, ‘I just hired this nice kid, would you mind saying hello to him?’ My dad got more than he bargained for.” The 17-year-old helped Crawford fasten a diamond necklace—after which she spun around, grabbed his face, and gave him a huge kiss on the mouth. His first!