The South Sea pearl and diamond necklace worn by Princess Diana at the opening of the British National Ballet’s gala performance of Swan Lake in 1997 has gone on sale for £9.6 million (about US$12.17 million).
Named the Swan Lake Suite, the necklace is going to be sold by auction house Guerney’s on behalf of the Ukrainian couple who bought it for £500,000 (about US$633,000) in 2010. The necklace will be sold with a pair of matching earrings.
According to Guerney’s, Princess Diana was working closely with the British Crown Jeweller who was creating for her a diamond and South Sea pearl necklace with matching earrings. The necklace was presented to her to be worn at the opening of the British National Ballet’s gala performance of Swan Lake. The performance took place on June 3 of that year at London’s Royal Albert Hall. After having been extensively photographed in the necklace, the Crown Jeweller asked for the necklace back.
In as much as the earrings had not, as yet, been completed, the Jeweller wanted the necklace in hand to make certain that the stones matched. The earrings were completed and the full suite about to be returned to the princess when she was tragically killed. Following her death – and with the acknowledgement of her grieving family – the jewels were sold. The family that had acquired the jewels a dozen years ago have chosen to offer them for sale. It is the general belief that these may well be the only substantial jewels worn by Diana that will ever be sold, according to the auction house.
The necklace features a brilliant-cut diamond and marquise diamond scroll motif centre with a South Sea cultured pearl, and five-stone and marquise diamond fringe drop. It has a brilliant-cut diamond two-row collet backchain tapering to a single row. The gems are mounted in platinum, with an integral box clasp.
The necklace contains five matching cultured pearls measuring 12mm in diameter, 11 marquise diamonds of 7.71 carats, three marquise diamonds of 0.88 carat and 164 diamonds of 42.35 carats.
The earrings feature brilliant-cut diamond and marquise diamond fancy cluster tops and South Sea cultured pearl drops also mounted in platinum. They contain two matching cultured pearls measuring 12mm in diameter and six marquise diamonds.