The Attallah Cross. A unique 1920s pendant by Garrard worn on several occasions by Princess Diana and said to be one of her favourite jewellery pieces comes to Sotheby’s London “Royal and Noble Sale” this January with an estimate of £80,000 – 120,000.
UPDATE – 18 JANUARY 2023
Kim Kardashian Acquires Princess Diana’s Attallah Cross at Sotheby’s London.
The Attallah Cross, a unique piece of jewellery, said to have been lovingly favoured by Princess Diana, sold for £163,800 / $197,453 to Kim Kardashian.
The amethyst cross was competed for by four bidders, in the last five minutes of Sotheby’s Royal and Noble sale, ultimately landing in the hands of a representative for Ms. Kardashian at more than double its pre-auction estimate.
Three days before Christmas, Sotheby’s London announces its annual Royal and Noble sale (6-18 January). The sale presents an eclectic collection of outstanding objects with aristocratic provenance: furniture, ceramics, decorative items and more.
A piece of jewellery favoured by Princess Diana leads the collection: the Attallah cross. The former group chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, the late Naim Attallah CBE, was the jewel owner.
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 pieceRamsay Attallah, the current owner of the cross
The Attallah cross, of fleurée style – with flowery design details – is a pendant created in the 1920s by court jeweller Garrard. Princess Diana had a particular fondness for Garrard. She most famously wore the cross in October 1987, pairing it with a Catherine Walker dress. The occasion was a charity gala supporting Birthright – a charity working towards protecting human rights during pregnancy and childbirth.
Naim Attallah CBE bought the cross from Garrard in the 1980s. Through his friendship with Princess Diana, he could loan it to her several times over several years to wear at events. However, it seems that the Princess only ever wore the cross. Following her death, it was never seen in public again.
The cross-shaped pendant – thought to be a one-off private commission – 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 about 136 x 95mm.
Princess Diana’s confidence grew during the 1980s. She became known for increasingly bold fashion choices, moving away from the romantic and subdued style she had hitherto favoured. She is known to have worn the Attallah cross several times – primarily for private occasions, which substantiates this evolution.
Princess Diana had a long-standing 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 the Swan Lake necklace, a diamond and South Sea pearl necklace, which they made in collaboration with her.Embed from Getty Images
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. 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.Kristian Spofforth, Head of Jewellery, Sotheby’s London