The Princess of Wales collaborated with Garrard and Company to create the sensational design to wear during a performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall. The breathtaking South Sea diamond and pearl necklace is also only half of the collection, as the princess sadly passed away before the matching earrings for the Swan Lake suite were completed.
In 2017, they were sold to New York’s private auction house Guernsey’s where they were purchased by an anonymous bidder.
The South Sea diamond and pearl necklace was made by Garrard, who at the time was the official jeweler to the royal family.
The necklace was actually designed with input from Diana herself. She wore the piece in public for the only time on June 3, 1997.
Garrard also made a pair of matching diamond and pearl earrings, but they were not yet finished when she died in August.
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Nonetheless, the necklace and earrings are often referred to as the “Swan Lake Suite” due to Diana’s famous appearance in the necklace.
When Princess Diana died, she had not yet purchased the jewelry suite.
Sometimes the princess is described as the original owner of the necklace, but this is not correct.
Although she was the first wearer of the necklace, six months after her death Garrard sold the necklace and earrings to a private buyer.
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According to the Court Jeweler, he was a British lord who worked as the managing director of Lehman Brothers in London.
He bought the suite for his wife, who would never have worn the jewelry because she was too uncomfortable with their connection to the late princess who died so tragically.
In 1999, the couple who owned the suite decided to sell it. The necklace and earrings were finally sold at the Guernsey auction house in New York on December 18, 1999.
The set was purchased by Texan businessman Jim McIngvale for just under $ 1 million.
The Guernsey auction notes described the necklace as follows: “Center of brilliant cut diamond motif and marquise diamond scroll with five stone South Sea cultured pearl and marquise diamond fringe, single chain rear two-row brilliant-cut diamonds tapering to a single row; mounted in platinum, set with prongs, with an integrated case clasp.
“It contains: five assorted cultured pearls 12 mm. 11 marquise diamonds 7.71 carats. Three marquise diamonds 0.88 carats. 164 diamonds 42.35 carats.”
The set was auctioned for the second time in September 2010 in New York.
The necklace and earrings were purchased by a Ukrainian couple, who paid Â£ 455,824 for the set.
This was well below the auction estimate, which was between Â£ 1-2million.
In 2017, after owning the jewelry for seven years, the Ukrainian couple who owned the suite turned to Guernsey to sell the jewelry.
They have asked for Â£ 8.73million for the set. This was nearly five times the high of the estimate for the 2010 sale.
However, the set reached less than half of the low estimate at this auction.