The collection is part of the princess' personal patrimony and has an estimated value of up to 20 million dollars.
By Walter Raymond
This May, Christie’s has scheduled and exceptional jewelry auction featuring extraordinary pieces by Cartier, Schlumberger, Boucheron, Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels, among other notable firms. The much-anticipated event will take place in Geneva, Switzerland and includes the famous 36-carat Pohl diamond, which is expected to get between $3.8 and $5.5 million. Discovered in 1934 as a rough 287-carat stone, it is known for being the first major diamond cut and polished in the United States. Its first owner was Bernice Chrysler Garbisch of the Chrysler family; subsequently, Princess Gabriele Zu Leiningen bought it from Cartier in 1998.
The wedding of the Begum Inaara Aga Khan
Princess Gabriele, a member of the German Thyssen clan, married—in first nuptials—Prince Karl-Emich Zu Leiningen. Years later, she married The Aga Khan IV and adopted the title of Inaara Begum Aga Khan. Prince Karim Aga Khan—head of the Nazari Ismaili—and powerful businessman has a particular fondness for jewelry and exquisite taste. He gifted his new wife the most valuable items in the collection, and each of them—as the princess has reported—has a particular story that reflects the most intimate and precious moments of her life.
Unfortunately, the marriage to Prince Aga Khan IV came to an end with a thunderous divorce that was fodder for the press for a long time.
In 2004, Princess Gabriele created the Princess Inaara Foundation, an organization committed to supporting projects that would protect and improve the rights of women and children. Today, the princess is also a member of the Board of the German AIDS Foundation.
A coveted collection
The 46-piece collection has been part of her personal assets and is appraised for a substantial value of between 15 to 20 million US dollars. Gabriele has worn some of the jewels on very special occasions. For example, it is known that the diamond necklace with a 40-carat Colombian emerald—signed by Cartier and worth between 2.5 and 3.5 million— adorned the princess at the official dinner offered before the wedding of Prince Felipe of Spain and Letizia Ortíz in Madrid.
Another significant piece on auction is the pearl and diamonds necklace the Princess inherited from her mother in law, the Begum Aga Khan III, wife of Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan III. When it was given to the Princess, she commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels the creation of complementary bracelet and earrings to wear with the necklace. On several occasions, Princess Gabriele has been photographed wearing the stunning set.
Another item that has drawn the attention of collectors is the V-shaped necklace with a 55-carat sapphire adorned with a series of rare Burmese sapphires whose value is estimated between 2 and 3 million dollars.
Undoubtedly, when the collection goes to auction, the bids will not focus only on the individual pieces. Collectors will be motivated by the stunning sets and the fabled stories and anecdotes that come with them. ■
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