The tale of the Moon of Baroda spans centuries and continents, and—like any famous diamond worth its salt—has a curse that threatens its wearer. The 24.04 ct. canary yellow pear-shape stone adorned Marilyn Monroe’s neck as she promoted Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and its anthem, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” in 1953. It was also blamed for her demise. In 1963, a year after she died, a tabloid headline blared, “The Curse That Killed Marilyn: Her Life Became a Hell After She Wore the Diamond.”
For 500 years, the Moon was a cherished treasure of the royal Gaekwad family, the Maharajas of Baroda in India, until the 18th century, when they sent it to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. After her death, the stone was returned to the maharajas. Fast-forward to the 1940s, when it was bought by Detroit jeweler Meyer Rosenbaum, who lent it to Monroe. It didn’t resurface again until 1991, when it was sold to an undisclosed collector at Christie’s. In 2008, the Moon of Baroda made its last appearance at the Diamond Divas exhibit at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre in Belgium.
Interestingly, the actress who became synonymous with diamonds didn’t wear them in real life, yet Marilyn will forever be linked with the Moon.
Fun fact: The Moon’s current whereabouts and owner are unknown, but there are numerous replicas floating around.