The more I learned about this woman, the more obsessed I became. Everything about her life was so mysterious and glamorous, that I simply had to know more. I seriously spent hours scouring the internet for every news article, website, wikipedia entry, and blog post that had her mentioned.
Using these sources, I've managed to patch together the fascinating life of a bizarrely obscure figure who has barely any presence on the internet. In fact, in all my searching, I could only find a handful of photos of this woman.
Here is her story.
Nina Dyer was born in 1930 to wealthy British parents, who owned extensive property in Sri Lanka. She was raised in the exotic country but moved to Paris as a teenager to become a high fashion model. She was gorgeous, she was flirty, and she craved extravagance.
It wasn't long before she was invited to party on the most luxurious yachts and mingle with wealthy jet-setters at the hottest social events.
At 17 years old, Nina started having an affair with the very eccentric and very married Baron von Thyssen, who was the richest man in Europe at the time. He lavished his young mistress with jaw-dropping gifts. On Valentine's Day, he presented the teenager with her very own Caribbean island. Nina caused quite a media scandal by bathing nude on the beaches there. The Baron also gave her two sports cars with gold-plated ignition keys, expensive jewelry, and two black panthers.
Finally, the lovesick Baron left his wife, an Austrian princess, for Nina. They married in 1954.
But three months into their marriage, Nina ended up cheating on him with a hot, struggling actor, who was around her own age.
In their divorce settlement, Nina received $2.8 million, $364,000 worth of jewelry, and a sprawling chateau.
When she wasn't busy having scandalous affairs with both men and women, Nina spent most of her free time taking care of her two black panthers. She took the animals with her everywhere, much to the distress of other people. Almost every single fancy hotel suite she stayed in was literally ripped apart by the two wild cats.
In 1957, at the age of 27, Nina married Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan in Switzerland. She converted to Islam and took the name Shirin. He was so busy with work (he had just been appointed the Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and Nina spent most of her time in Paris, trying to resurrect her modeling career, that the newlyweds barely saw each other. They divorced five years later.
In that settlement, Nina received $1.4 million.
Although Nina was young, beautiful, and filthy rich, she still was desperately unhappy. She had no children, barely any friends, and her vibrant personality was fading.
In 1965, at only 35 years old, Nina over-dosed on sleeping pills. Her maid found her lifeless body the next morning.
Since her death, she has ceased to exist. There are no books about her life. She isn't portrayed in films. It's actually almost impossible to even find her modeling shots. She seems to have been erased from history.
The only shred of legacy Nina left behind is the jewels which once adorned her body. For example, the richest people in the world are still trying to get their hands on the Nina Dyer Black Pearl Necklace, a three-strand black pearl necklace from Cartier, which was a present from her first husband.
If you dig hard enough, you'll find numerous news articles from the 1980s, even up until 2010, revealing that descendants of her husbands, and even her own second-third-fourth generation cousins, are anxiously looking for missing Nina Dyer jewels, or fighting custody for ones already discovered.
But nobody talks about the woman behind the sparkle.
Perhaps that is a premonition Nina already had when she started fading away behind the diamonds.
Because when you live your life to only seek pleasure, what else is left?
I don't think she liked the answer.