One of Princess Diana’s favorite necklaces will be up for auction at the Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale. The annual sale begins on Jan. 6, and the starring item of the entire event will be the Garrard’s necklace that was once worn by the beloved royal.
Garrard & Co. was the official Crown Jeweller for Britain’s royal family for more than 160 years, and they created several pieces that Diana made iconic during her time as a member of the family, from 1981 to 1996, when she was married to then-Prince Charles.
One of these pieces was the Attallah crucifix pendant. Created by Garrard in the 1920s, the one-of-a-kind pendant is unforgettable once you’ve seen it. The fleuree-style cross is built with square-cut purple amethysts and is accented by circular-cut diamonds. The piece was owned by late publishing giant Naim Attallah, who bought the cross in the 1980s. He loaned it to Diana on several occasions, including in 1987, when she famously wore the pendant to a charity ball.
“Princess Diana and my father were friends and I remember that she often came to see him at the historic Garrard store on Regent Street, where his office was, and she would ask to borrow the pendant on several occasions — she really loved the piece,” Attallah’s son, Ramsay Attallah, told Sotheby’s.
Following Naim Attallah’s death in 2021, Ramsay is now auctioning off some of the celebrated businessman’s collection. The Attallah cross carries a presale estimate of up to $144,000.
“Jewelry 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 colorful, bold and distinctive,” said Kristian Spofforth, Sotheby’s head of jewelry, in a statement. “To some extent, this unusual pendant is symbolic of the Princess’s growing self-assurance in her sartorial and jewelry choices, at that particular moment in her life.”