Princess Diana’s stunning necklace that she wore on her last official engagement before her death is being put up for sale.
The late Princess of Wales famously wore the diamond and pearl necklace at the gala evening for Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1997.
The necklace, made from 178 diamonds and five matching South Sea pearls, was sent to Crown jewellers Gerrard so they could make a matching pair of earrings. The set was said to be an intended gift from her lover Dodi Al-Fayed.
But before it could be given to Diana, she and Dodi died following a car crash in Paris in August 1997.
The jewellery is now set to be auctioned off in New York next month – after first being displayed in London – and the set is expected to be sold for somewhere between £4m and £11m.
The gems, known as the Swan Lake Suite, have belonged to a Ukrainian family since 2008. But instability caused by the on-going war between their home country and Russia means the family is putting the set up for auction. It has been said that a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go towards helping rebuild Ukraine.
As Princess Diana mostly wore jewellery loaned to her by the Crown during her time as a member of the Royal Family, the necklace and earrings set is thought to be the only fine gems owned by Diana ever to be sold publicly.
The sale is being handled by Guernsey’s Auctioneers of New York.
According to the Daily Mail, Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s Auctioneers, said: “While many accomplished figures fade from view, Princess Diana is as vibrant today as when she was indeed the most admired woman on the planet. The jewellery Princess Diana wore when she was part of the Royal Family was loaned to her by the Crown. The Swan Lake Suite was especially made for her. She was part of the design process.
“It is thought to be her only jewellery to have ever been sold, making it extraordinarily important.
“There are many people who have described it as priceless but we have given it a very broad estimate. Extraordinary items like these and works of art have expediently increased in recent times.”
After Diana’s death, her family gave permission for the necklace and earrings to be sold, with some of the proceeds going to UNICEF.
The auction house has a letter of authenticity from Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, dated April 1998. In the letter, he explained how he asked Diana’s older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, who consented for Gerrard to sell the set.
It was purchased by American businessman Jim McIngvale in 1999 for just under $1m.
He sold it during the financial downturn of 2008, when it was bought by the current owners, who are said to be big fans of the British Royal Family.
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