Princess Diana: Lorraine Kelly discusses 'Spencer' film
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Princess Diana’s jewellery collection was extensive, from tiaras, to rings, to necklaces, and pearl earrings. Her most expensive piece of jewellery, which happens to be the last necklace she ever wore in public before her untimely death in 1997, was the Swan Lake necklace. The necklace has been estimated by jewellerybox to be worth £8.7million, which according to these jewellers, would take the average Briton 275 years of work to afford it.
As well as being Princess Diana’s most expensive piece of jewellery, it is also the seventh most expensive piece of royal jewellery worldwide.
It is also the fifth most expensive piece of jewellery within the British Royal Family.
The name behind the necklace has a very poignant meaning.
For one of her final public appearances, the late Diana, Princess of Wales attended a performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The diamond and South Sea pearl necklace was made by Garrard, the crown jeweller at the time.
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 coordinating diamond and pearl earrings, but they were not finished yet when she died that August.
Nevertheless, the necklace and earrings are often referred to as the ‘Swan Lake Suite’ because of Diana’s famous appearance in the necklace at the Royal Albert Hall for that particular ballet.
Six months after her death, Garrard sold the necklace and earrings to a private buyer.
In 1999, the couple who owned the suite decided to sell.
The necklace and earrings were eventually sold at Guernsey’s auction house in New York on December 18, 1999.
The set was purchased by a Texan businessman, Jim McIngvale, for just shy of a million dollars.
A decade later, the set was sold by Guernsey’s once again.
They advertised the set’s royal connections heavily, even remarking that “it is the general belief that these may well be the only substantial jewels worn by Diana that will ever be sold.”
The set was auctioned for the second time in September 2010 in New York.
The necklace and earrings were bought by a Ukrainian couple, who paid £458,569 for the set.
This was well under the auction estimate, which was set at between £1.08 and £1.8million.
The most expensive piece of jewellery within the British Royal Family is owned by Kate Middleton, called the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace.
It is estimated by jewellerybox to be worth £66.3million.
Queen Elizabeth owns the second and third most expensive pieces of jewellery: the Cullinan III and IV, and the Williamson Diamond Brooch.
Princess Eugenie owns the fourth most expensive jewel, the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara she wore on her wedding day.
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