Arab Singer’s Necklace Fetches $1.3 Million

An antique necklace made up of 1,888 pearls that once belonged to the Arab World’s most famed singer, was sold Tuesday for more than a million dollars at an auction in Dubai, The Associated Press reports.

Christie’s Dubai branch said that an anonymous buyer from the Middle East bought the piece of Umm Kulthoum‘s (pictured with the neclace) jewelry for $1.38 million, the AP reports.

The London-based auction house did not want to reveal the identity of the buyer, the AP reports. He bought the nine-strand necklace at a price 10 times its $120,000 estimated value the auction house set, which did not take into an account its immense emotional value.

The necklace was one of the few pieces the Egyptian-born singer kept, the AP reports. As a champion of many humanitarian causes and caretaker of the poor she gave most of her wealth away during her lifetime.

Kulthoum’s descendants had offered the necklace, the singer’s favorite piece, for sale, the AP reports. She was famous for her emotive songs that continue to transfix audiences across the Arab world, 30 years after her death.

The pearl necklace with multicolored enamel and white stone details was designed in 19th century India, the AP reports.

It was a gift to the diva—who was adored by ordinary people and heads of state alike for her voice and her pursuit of humanitarian causes across the Middle East—by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a few years before her death in 1975 at the age of 70.

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