LONDON: You can now buy a small, glittering piece of Princess Diana’s legacy – if you have $12 million. A diamond necklace known as the Swan Lake Suite, made of 178 diamonds and five pearls, has gone up for auction at the New York auction house Guernsey’s. Diana wore the necklace only once publicly, to a performance of the ballet at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1997. The necklace was made with matching earrings. Diana never got to wear them, and wore the necklace out before the earrings were complete. The necklace – which auctioneers nicknamed the “gift of the century” – was last sold in 2010 for £500,000 or close to $650,000 USD. The current owners are a Ukrainian couple who believe they can bring in the necklace’s original value of $12 million. According to Marion Fasel, jewelry expert at The Adventurine, the jump in value may be due to the approaching 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. “I can only imagine the renewed memorials after twenty years are adding to the perceived value of the jewel.”
But the real draw is the hope that some of Diana’s renowned grace and beauty will rub off on whomever wears her jewelry. “Diana really loved jewelry and wore big pieces beautifully,” says Fasel. “Despite the fact that the necklace was made in the 1990s, it has a mid-century formal quality to it. Diana made it look, well, cool, wearing it with her fitted shift knee length dress.” The Swan Lake Suite isn’t the only jewelry piece that royal watchers would probably enjoy wearing out for a night. Fasel reminds us that while most of Diana’s jewelry was borrowed from the Queen, she did occasionally borrow jewelry from designers on special occasions. She wore the $67,500 Double Crescent bracelet, for one, on loan from Verdura during a New York City trip in 1997. Today’s most recognizable piece of royal jewelry is still one of Diana’s pieces: Kate Middleton’s inherited sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Diana willed all her jewelry to her sons, so if you happen to have extra millions of dollars lying around, this could be your last chance to own a real piece of princess memorabilia.