AUCTION – The Attallah Cross: 1920s pendant by Garrard, worn by Princess Diana, comes to Sotheby’s London “Royal and Noble” sale in January

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The Attallah Cross, a unique 1920s pendant by Garrard, worn on several occasions by Princess Diana, will be offered at Sotheby’s London “Royal and Noble” sale in January, with an estimate of 80,000 to 120,000 pounds.

AUCTION  – The Attallah Cross:  1920s pendant by Garrard, worn by Princess Diana, comes to Sotheby’s London “Royal and Noble” sale in January
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 27: Diana, Princess Of Wales, Arriving At A Charity Gala Evening On Behalf Of Birthright At Garrard. The Princess Is Wearing A Purple Evening Dress With A Gold And Amethyst Crucifix Suspended On A Pearl Rope. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s

“Jewellery owned or worn by the late Princess Diana very rarely comes on to the market, especially a piece such as the Attallah cross, which is so colourful, bold and distinctive,” said Kristian Spofforth, Head of Jewellery, Sotheby’s London.

“To some extent, this unusual pendant is symbolic of the Princess’s growing self-assurance in her sartorial and jewellery choices, at that particular moment in her life.

“We are confident that this unique 1920s piece of jewellery by Garrard, with such an exceptional provenance and only ever worn by the Princess herself, will attract the attention of a wide variety of bidders, including royal and noble jewellery collectors, as well as fans of the Princess keen to share part of her history.”

courtesy of Sotheby's

Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s London announces that its annual Royal and Noble sale (6-18 January), which presents an eclectic collection of outstanding objects and sumptuous heirlooms with aristocratic provenance – from furniture, ceramics, decorative items and more – is to be led by a piece of jewellery said to have been lovingly favoured by Princess Diana: the Attallah cross, owned by the former group chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, the late Naim Attallah CBE.

“Princess Diana and my father were friends and I remember that she often came to see him at the historic Garrard store on Regent Street, where his office was, and she would ask to borrow the pendant on several occasions – she really loved the piece” said Ramsay Attallah, current owner of the cross.

The Attallah cross, of fleurée style – made distinct by flowery design details, is a pendant created in the 1920s by court jewellers Garrard, which Princess Diana had a particular fondness for and most famously wore in October 1987, paired with a Catherine Walker dress, to a charity gala in support of Birthright, a charity working towards the protection of human rights during pregnancy and childbirth.

The cross was bought by Naim Attallah CBE, from Garrard in the 1980s and through his friendship with Princess Diana, he was able to loan it to her several times over a number of years to wear at events. It is understood that the cross was only ever worn by the Princess, and following her death, it was never seen in public again until now.

The cross-shaped pendant – thought to be a one-off private commission by Garrard for one of their regular clients – is a bold and colourful piece set with square-cut amethysts and accented by circular-cut diamonds. The cross has a total diamond weight of approximately 5.25 carats and measures approximately 136 x 95mm.

Princess Diana’s confidence grew during the 1980s as she became known for increasingly bold fashion choices, moving away from the more romantic and subdued style she had hitherto favoured. The fact that she is known to have worn what is now known as the Attallah cross several times – mostly to private occasions, substantiates this evolution.

Princess Diana had a longstanding relationship with Garrard, having selected her engagement ring from them in 1981. Over the years she would collaborate with Garrard and wear pieces from the illustrious jewellery house on many occasions, including after her divorce. In her last public appearance, she wore what has come to be known as the Swan Lake necklace, a diamond and South Sea pearl necklace which they made in collaboration with her.

The Sotheby’s Royal and Noble Sale

Online only sale on sothebys.com

Bidding opens 6 January and closes 18 January 2023

Exhibition details:

The Royal and Noble Sale lots, including the Attallah cross

will be showcased at Sotheby’s London

From Thursday 12 January to Wednesday 18 January

Monday–Friday | 9:00 AM–4:30 PM

Weekends | 12:00 PM–5:00PM