Prices Continue to Rise for Rare, Fancy Diamonds
24-Carat ‘Moon of Baroda’ Diamond Sells for $1.3M
Hong Kong—The 24-carat yellow diamond that captivated Indian and Hollywood royalty alike sold for $1.3 million at the Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auction Tuesday.
The “Moon of Baroda,” a 24.04-carat fancy yellow pear modified brilliant-cut diamond suspended on a black leather cord, nearly doubled its highest pre-sale estimate of $750,000 (when including buyer’s premium).
Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe wore the stone in 1953 while promoting the release of “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the film where she famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Christie’s said the Gemological Institute of America determined the diamond was unearthed at Golconda, the region of India known today as Hyderabad that produced some of the world’s biggest and most beautiful diamonds until its mines ran dry in the early part of the 20th century.
Christie’s said The Moon of Baroda was likely mined there between the 15th and 17th centuries.
At one time, the diamond might have been part of the collection of the Gaekwads of Baroda, one of India’s wealthiest ruling families.
In more recent years, the diamond has belonged to Cleveland, Ohio-based diamond cutter Samuel H. Deutsch, who bought it in 1944 and sold it to Meyer Rosenbaum, president of Detroit’s Meyer Jewelry Company, in 1953.
Nearly four decades later, The Moon of Baroda went up on the block at a jewelry auction, selling at Christie’s New York for $297,000 in 1990.
Selling alongside the Moon of Baroda at Christie’s Hong Kong Tuesday was a black-and-white photograph of Monroe wearing the necklace (pictured above), signed and inscribed with: “To Meyer Thanks for the chance to wear the Moon of Baroda.”
The picture went for about $35,000, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate.
Also sold Tuesday at the jewelry auction was “The Peacock Necklace” (pictured above), a diamond and sapphire necklace set with 21 Kashmir sapphires weighing a total of 109.08 carats.
The auction house estimated it would go for between $12 and $15 million. The necklace ended up selling at the high end of its estimated range, garnering about $14.9 million.
By Brecken Branstrator, National Jeweler