At Sotheby’s Royal and Noble Jewels Sale held in London on Wednesday, January 18th, 2023, during the last five minutes, a bidding war broke out between four bidders for an Amethyst and Diamond Cross Pendant, previously owned by Naim Attallah and worn by Late Princess Diana on several occasions, which finally ended when a representative of realty star and business mogul Kim Kardashian successfully outbid others purchasing the historic pendant necklace for almost US Dollars 200,000 (GBP 163,000) which was almost double Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate of USD 97,000 – USD 145,000 (GBP 80,000 – GBP 120,000).
Commenting on the record-breaking sale, Kristian Spofforth, head of jewelry at Sotheby’s London, said in a press release, “This is a bold piece of jewellery by its size, colour and style which cannot fail to make a vibrant statement, whether it be of faith or fashion — or indeed both. We are delighted that this piece has found a new lease of life within the hands of another globally famous name,” Spofforth added.
Continuing in the same vein, Kristian Spofforth further said, “Jewellery owned or worn by the late Princess Diana very rarely comes on to the market, especially a piece such as the Attallah Cross, which is so colourful, bold and distinctive. To some extent, this unusual pendant is symbolic of the princess’s growing self-assurance in her sartorial and jewellery choices, at that particular moment in her life.”
The history of the iconic piece of jewelry dates back to the year 1920, the year it was manufactured by the Court Jewellers Garrad. The cross-shaped pendant believed to be a one-off private commission by Garrard for one of their regular clients, is a bold and colourful piece with dimensions of approximately 136 x 95 mm (5.4 x 3.7 ins.), and set with seven square-cut amethysts on the vertical section of the cross and four square-cut amethysts on the horizoontal arms, and accented by circular-cut diamonds at the extreme ends of the cross and in the middle. The total weight of the diamonds is approximarely 5.25 carats.
In the 1980s the amethyst and diamond cross pendant was purchsed from Garrad by Late Naim Attallah, a Palestinian British Businessman and writer, who was group chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, which was later renamed Garrard & Co, the company that served as the Royal Family’s Crown Jewlers, maintainlng the family’s prized jewels, until 2007. The Princess of Wales’ engagement ring – a sapphire and diamond design – was also made by Garrard.
Princess Diana is reported to have had a particular fondness for the Cross Pendant, and her friend Naim Attallah is said to have loaned the pendant to the Princess on many occasions, the most significant of which was when the Princess famously showcased it while wearing a black and purple Catherine Walker dress to a charity gala held in October 1987, in support of Birthright, a charity working to protect human rights during pregnancy and childbirth.
After Princess Diana married the present British King Charles III in 1981, she soon became an international icon and used her fame for the well being of humanity, raising awareness for numerous worthy causes, such as debunking the stigma attached to sicknesses such as Leprosy, HIV and Psychiatric problems and saving women from domestic violence.
“Princess Diana’s confidence grew during the 1980s as she became known for increasingly bold fashion choices, moving away from the more romantic and subdued style she had hitherto favoured,” said Sotheby’s in their press release, pertaining to the sale.
“The fact that she is known to have worn what is now known as the Attallah Cross on several times, mostly to private occasions, substantiates this evolution,” it added.
Sotheby’s further states, it is reliably learnt, that Princess Diana was the only one to ever wear the cross, and this is the first time it has appeared in public since her death.
Kardashian, who owns beauty and fashion brands, is well known for wearing lavish jewelry and has the net worth to back the expensive passion. According to Forbes, she is worth an estimated $1.8 billion.
In the year 2011, the Late Hollywood Actress Elizabrth Taylor’s Jewelry Collection was put up for sale at a Christie’s Auction. At this auction, Kim Kardashian purchased three Jade and Diamond Bracelets/Bangles that belonged to the Late Star, and created by Lorraine Schwartz. She paid an enormous US$ 64,000 for the three bangles with a pre-sale estimate of only US$ 8,000. This purchase clealy demonstrated the penchant Kim Kardashian has for Jewelry and other personal items that once belonged to celebrites.
At last year’s Met Gala, Kim Kardashian wore a Marilyn Monroe gown that was loaned to her from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. The 42-year-old appeared on the red carpet in a sparkling skin-tight gown once worn by Marilyn Monroe when she famously sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.