On May 18, Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen, the former wife of the Aga Khan, will auction of 46 lots of jewelry estimated to bring more than $15 million at Christie's Geneva.
The princess (born merely wealthy, she was first married to the Prince of Leiningen before marrying the Aga Kahn in 1998), received many of the jewels as gifts from her second husband, Christie's says.
When Rahul Kudia, Christie's head of jewelry, visited the princess, he first made his way below ground to the vault. "Awaiting us there was an impressive two-story safe from the turn of the century," inside of which, he wrote in a statement, "we glimpsed towers of neatly stacked boxes."
Most of the pieces come from notable jewelers. There are objects from Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Schlumberger, and Tiffany's, and the majority include some form of prestigious history. Merely coming from the princess's own collection isn't a bad provenance, either. Here are the top 10 lots.
The 'Pohl' Diamond by Cartier
This massive, 36.09-carat diamond is mounted on platinum and tapered by baguette-cut diamond shoulders. Estimate: $3.8 million to $5.5 million
An Emerald and Diamond Necklace by Cartier
The necklace features a detachable, cushion-shaped emerald pendant weighing approximately 39.7 carats; there are five more emeralds in the necklace weighing more than 16 carats in total. Estimate: $2.5 million to $3.5 million
'Persepolis' Necklace and Pair of 'Persane' Earrings by Cartier
The necklace, set with emeralds, sapphires, and rose-cut diamonds, is paired with a pair of emerald, diamond, and pearl earrings. The necklace was a gift from the princess's mother, Renate Thyssen. Estimate: $700,000 to $1 million
Pair of Sapphire and Diamond Earrings by Cartier
The two sapphires, weighing 24.69 and 25.63 carats are detachable; the diamonds are set in platinum. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000
Sapphire and Diamond Ring by Cartier
The sapphire weighs a massive 21.06 carats and is set in platinum between baguette-cut diamond shoulders. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000
Suite of Emerald, Diamond, and Pearl Jewelry by Cartier
The necklace is a fringe of emerald beads interspersed with diamonds and pearls, suspended on a larger emerald and diamond pendant. The necklace is matched with a similarly-set pendant clasp, bracelet, and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $500,000 to $700,000
Cultured Pearl and Diamond Fringe Necklace and a Bangle and Pair of Earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels
The necklace, whose yellow-gold flowers contain small diamond clusters, has 15 cultured pearls and multiple white gold clusters. The necklace comes with a similarly set bangle and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $200,000 to $300,000
Ruby and Diamond Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels
This flower brooch comprises rubies and a diamond-cluster pistil and is mounted in platinum and gold. Estimate: $150,000 to $250,000
'Mystery Set' Ruby and Diamond 'Poppy' Earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels
Each ruby-set poppy flower has a circular-cut diamond pistil and two diamond-set leaves set in platinum. Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000
Ruby and Diamond Novelty Brooch by Cartier
This "novelty" brooch, so-called because one side opens to reveal a watch with a circular dial, was once owned by Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III (the princess's ex-husband's grandfather.) Estimate: $10,500 to $15,000