On Jan. 18, the Attallah cross, a piece of jewelry worn by Princess Diana, sold for $197,453 (or 163,800 British pounds) to reality TV show star Kim Kardashian at Sotheby’s Royal & Noble sale in London.
That is higher than its pre-auction estimate of $98,000–$143,000 (or 80,000–120,000 British pounds). The purchase capped five minutes of bidding among four buyers, after which a representative for Kardashian was declared the winner of the online-only sale.
Kardashian is a businessperson, socialite, and the star of the reality TV series Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
“We are delighted that this piece has found a new lease of life within the hands of another globally famous name,” said Kristian Spofforth, head of jewelry for Sotheby’s London, in a statement.
The 136 mm x 95 mm fleurée-style cross—set with square-cut amethysts and accented by 5.25 carats of circular-cut diamonds—was designed by jeweler Garrard in the 1920s, likely for a private client. In the 1980s, Princess Diana’s friend, British businessman and writer Naim Attallah, bought it and loaned it to the princess several times to wear at events.
It gained a certain notoriety in October 1987, when Diana wore it to a charity gala in support of Birthright, which works toward the protection of human rights during pregnancy and childbirth. It is possibly the only time the princess publicly wore a cross.
This auction marks the first time the Atallah cross has been seen in public following her death.
Added Spofforth: “This is a bold piece of jewelry by its size, color and style, which cannot fail to make a vibrant statement, whether it be of faith or fashion—or indeed both.”
Said Spofforth in an earlier statement: “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.”
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