Auctions

Princess Diana’s ‘Swan Lake Suite’ Sold to Private Buyer

AuctionsJun 30, 2023

Princess Diana’s ‘Swan Lake Suite’ Sold to Private Buyer

According to auction house Guernsey’s, a prominent museum bought the necklace and earring set.

Princess Diana Swan Lake Suite
The South Sea pearl jewelry included in the late Princess Diana’s “Swan Lake Suite.” Originally scheduled to be offered at auction on June 27, a museum purchased the necklace and earring set prior to the public sale. (Photo courtesy of Guernsey’s)
Editor's note: This story was updated to include additional information obtained post-publication.

New York—Guernsey’s announced on its website that the Princess Diana “Swan Lake Suite” has been sold to a “prominent” museum.

The necklace and earring set was slated to be auctioned Tuesday at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.  

That morning, Guernsey's told National Jeweler the auction was canceled due to the jewels’ sale via a pre-auction private treaty but declined to provide any further details.
 
It updated its website with the museum information the following day.

The Swan Lake Suite is comprised of a South Sea pearl necklace and matching earrings made by Garrard with design input from the princess. 

On June 3, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, attended the opening night of the British National Ballet’s performance of “Swan Lake” at the Royal Albert Hall in London wearing the necklace. This was one of her final public appearances.

Following the ballet, the princess returned the piece so Garrard could craft a pair of matching earrings, but she was tragically killed in Paris before receiving them.

The necklace is comprised of 178 marquise- and round brilliant-cut diamonds and seven 12 mm South Sea pearls. It’s mounted in platinum and includes more than 50 carats of diamonds.

The coordinating earrings feature a round brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamond cluster with a South Sea cultured pearl drop. They are also mounted in platinum and are claw-set with peg and clip fittings.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Because of Diana’s independence from the royal family following her divorce from Prince Charles, the suite was left without an owner after she died in August 1997 and was not subject to any royal protocol.

Garrard contacted a British lord, who purchased the jewels for his wife. However, she reportedly never wore them because she was too uncomfortable with their connection to the late princess.
 
Next, the jewels went to Guernsey’s auction house where in December 1999, they sold to Texan businessman James McIngvale for $1 million. 

In 2008, the suite changed hands again. The jewels were purchased via private sale by current owner the Ginzburgs, a Ukrainian family who has been deeply affected by the war in their homeland.

“I know their hope is that money from the sale can be used in the rebuilding [of Ukraine],” said Guernsey’s president, Arlan Ettinger.

The pre-auction estimate for the Swan Lake Suite was $5 million to $15 million.

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