Princess Diana’s private jewelry said to have been a gift from Dodi Al-Fayed is being sold at auction at a starting price of up to £11 million (C$18.56 million).
The late royal’s diamond and pearl necklace and earring set, reportedly given to her by the heir when they were an item, was worn by Diana at the gala evening for ‘Swan Lake’ at London’s Royal Albert Hall in June 1997 – her last official engagement before her death at age 36 in a 1997 Paris car crash that also killed Dodi, 42.
Known as the ‘Swan Lake Suite’, the jewelry set has belonged to a prominent Ukrainian family since 2008 but they are now selling it after struggling to maintain their business in war-ravaged Ukraine, but have also vowed to donate a portion of the proceeds to the rebuilding of the country.
Experts at Guernsey’s Auctioneers of New York have given the jewels a pre-sale value of between £4 million and £11 million (C$6.75 million and C$18.56 million).
“While many accomplished figures fade from view, Diana is as vibrant today as when she was indeed the most admired woman on the planet,” said Arlan Ettinger, president of the auction house.
“The jewelry Diana wore when she was part of the Royal Family was loaned to her by the Crown, (but) the ‘Swan Lake Suite’ was especially made for her.
“She was part of the design process. It is thought to be her only jewelry 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.
“The suite was reputed to have been a gift to her from Dodi al-Fayed who was in her life at the time.”
Ettinger added about the sellers: “The war in Ukraine has been a motivating factor in them deciding to sell the ‘Swan Lake Suite’ now.
“They have had them for 14 years but given what is going on, their thoughts are now very much on rebuilding their country.”
It is believed to be the first time Diana’s privately owned jewelry will be sold publicly as most of the items she wore were lent to her by the Crown when she was a member of the Royal Family.
Her ‘Swan Lake Suite’ necklace was made of 178 diamonds and after the ‘Swan Lake’ gala it was returned to Crown jewelers Gerrard so that they could make a matching pair of earrings for her, but they only finished them after her death.
The set will be auctioned off in New York in June after going on show in London.