The "Swan Lake Suite" of jewelry consists of two pieces, a diamond and pearl necklace and a pair of matching diamond and pearl drop earrings. The suite was designed and executed by Garrards, the Crown Jewelers, in the spring of 1997, on an order placed by Diana, the Princess of Wales. The first piece of jewelry to be completed by Garrards, was the stunning pearl and diamond necklace, which was said to have been designed with the Princess' knowledge and assistance. Immediately after the completion of the necklace, Diana, the Princess of Wales, was invited as the Royal Guest of Honor, at the Royal Gala Performance of Derek Deane's ballet "Swan Lake" to be held at the Royal Albert Hall, on Tuesday, June 3, 1997.
Incidentally, this happened to be her last official engagement before her tragic death on August 31, 1997. Princess Diana took delivery of the completed pearl and diamond necklace from Garrards, which she wore for the occasion, with a sky blue beaded evening dress. The exquisitely crafted diamond and pearl necklace was admired by all who saw her wearing it that night. Soon after the performance, Diana returned the necklace to Garrards, to enable them complete the matching pair of earrings, but fate decided otherwise, and tragically she never had the chance to wear the completed suite, because of her untimely death. The suite of jewelry now came to be known as "Diana, Princess of Wales, Swan Lake Suite" a name that partially reflects the name of the Princess who originally placed the order for the necklace, and partially the last official engagement of the Princess, the Royal Gala Performance of the ballet "Swan Lake" which she attended as the Royal Guest of Honor, wearing a part of the suite, the stunning pearl and diamond necklace.
The "Swan Lake Suite" was a two-piece jewelry suite consisting of a pearl and diamond necklace and a matching pair of pearl and diamond earrings.
The centerpiece of the necklace is a scroll motif made up of brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamonds, with a fringe drop made up of cultured South Sea pearls and marquise-cut diamonds. There are five matching South Sea cultured pearl drops in the necklace, each with a diameter of 12 mm. In between the pearl drops are four marquise-cut diamond drops. There are 7 other marquise-cut diamonds in the centerpiece, making a total of 11 marquise-cut diamonds with a total weight of 7.71 carats. Three smaller marquise-cut diamonds at the rear of the necklace, has a total weight of 0.88 carats. The lower end of the necklace towards the scroll motif, is made up of two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds, but the rear of the necklace has only a single row of brilliant-cut diamonds. There are 164 brilliant-cut diamonds in the necklace, with a total weight of 42.35 carats. All diamonds in the necklace are set in platinum. The clasp of the necklace is an integral box clasp.
Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Suite
The matching pair of pearl drop earrings of the suite, show a repetition of the scroll like design found in the necklace, with the same type of loops forming a floral design. The floral loops are made of platinum, set with 15 brilliant-cut diamonds in each earring. The total weight of the 30 brilliant-cut diamonds in both earrings is 9.38 carats. Each of the earrings has a single large spherical South Sea pearl of the same diameter as the pearls found in the necklace (12 mm), hanging from below as a drop. Three marquise-cut diamonds also hang from below the floral cluster, on the outer side of the hanging pearl. The total weight of the six marquise-cut diamonds is 1.87 carats. Overall the pair of earrings turned out by Garrards was a perfect match to the pearl and diamond necklace created earlier, in terms of design, the type of diamonds and pearls used and the cut of the diamonds and shape of the pearls.
"Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Necklace" has gone down in history as the last necklace worn by Princess Diana, the peoples' princess, on her last official engagement on June 3, 1997, almost three months before her tragic death in a motor accident in Paris, on August 31, 1997. Since she assumed the role of Princess of Wales, after her fairy-tale wedding in July 1981, to the Heir of the British Throne, and the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, the eldest son of the reigning Queen of the United Kingdom, H.R.H.Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana was showered with jewels of the Royal household, particularly those belonging to Queen Elizabeth II's personal jewelry collection, and she used these jewels quite effectively to project her image as the aspiring queen of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and the Head of the Commonwealth. Among the pieces of jewelry she received from the Queen's personal collection, her most favorite was the different types of pearl jewelry, prominent among which was the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, that came to be closely associated with the princess. Among the pearl jewelry, pearl chokers were her most famous, and she had been photographed on different occasions, wearing pearl chokers with the number of strands varying from two to eleven. Pearl chokers made up of white pearls only or sometimes with a colored gemstone such as a blue sapphire as a centerpiece, looked fabulous on the Princess, and served to enhance her already beautiful profile. Occasionally she had also been wearing single or double strand pearl necklaces, and also extraordinary long pearl necklaces, which under the modern Mikimoto classification are known as "ropes" (greater than 37 ins.)
Unfortunately due to respect for copyrights, a policy stringently followed by our website, we are not able to reproduce Diana's photographs showing her wearing different types of pearl jewelry on different occasions, during her tenure as the Princess of Wales. However, making use of a blog : Diana Jewels .Net which has already published photographs of the princess wearing different types of pearl jewelry, we have attempted to make a summary of the type of pearl jewelry worn by her on different occasions in a tabulated form.
|Name of the piece of pearl jewelry||Given by whom||Occasion of wearing the piece||
Date photograph was taken
|1||Triple-strand pearl choker, with a turquoise and pearl cluster clasp||Present from the Spencer family on her 18th birthday||On route for a royal ceremonial occasion in summer of 1981, with Prince Andrew||1981
|2||Same piece as above||Same as above||Visiting Jane Eliza Landing while on a visit to Australia||April 6, 1983||Renmark, South Australia, Australia|
|3||Same piece as above||Same as above||On a visit to New Zealand`||April 1983||New Zealand|
|4||The Queen's four-row diamond and pearl choker. Sapphire and diamond brooch pinned over the sash on her right shoulder||On loan from QEII's personal jewelry collection. The brooch was a gift from QEII.||Occasion not known||not known||not known|
|5||Triple-strand pearl choker with a turquoise and pearl cluster clasp. Same as 1, 2, and 3 above||Present from the Spencer family on her 18th birthday||Portsmouth D-day Commemoration||June 5, 1994||Hampshire, England|
|6||Double-strand pearl choker with sapphire||On loan from QEII's personal jewelry collection||Occasion not known||1980s||Dorchester Hotel, London|
|7||Lady Sarah McCorquodale five-strand pearl choker||On loan from Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale||Immediately after the wedding festivities||July 29, 1981||London, England|
|8||Six-row pearl choker with a large central diamond, surrounded by smaller diamonds||On loan from QEII's personal jewelry collection||At the Victoria & Albert Museum, wearing a Bellville Sassoon dress, few months after her marriage to Prince Charles||November 4, 1981||South Kensington, London, England|
|9||Seven-strand pearl choker with a sapphire and diamond centerpiece||The sapphire and diamond centerpiece was originally a brooch given as a wedding gift by QEII.||Wears the choker with a black evening gown for an unidentified formal event||April 1986||not known|
|10||Same as 9 above||Same as above||Wears the choker with a black evening gown for a formal dinner with First Lady Nancy Reagan, at the White House.||November 9, 1985||Washington D.C. USA|
|11||Single-strand pearl necklace with a sapphire centerpiece and matching sapphire earrings. The sapphire and diamond brooch is pinned to the lace-collar of her dress||Probably From QEII's personal jewelry collection||Occasion not known||not known||not known|
|12||Single-strand pearl necklace and matching pearl eardrops||Probably from QEII's personal jewelry collection||Unidentified formal event||not known||not known|
|13||Single-strand pearl necklace and matching pearl eardrops as above, together with the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara. Princess Diana holding bouquet of roses||From QEII's personal jewelry collection. The Lovers Knot Tiara was a wedding gift from QEII.||Unidentified formal event||not known||not known|
|14||Graduated single-strand pearl necklace with matching earrings||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||On a visit to Canada.||June 29, 1983||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.|
|15||Single-strand baroque pearl necklace||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||unidentified formal event||not known||The United Kingdom|
|16||Twisted multi-strand pearl necklace, with matching earrings, wearing Catherine Walker dress and John Boyd hat.||From QEII'S personal jewelry collection||On visit to Sicily, Italy||April 30, 1985||Sicily, Italy|
|17||Twisted double-strand pearl necklace wearing a red lace dress.||From QEII"s personal jewelry collection||Attending a ballet||February 11, 1984||The United Kingdom|
|18||Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, and matching single-strand pearl necklace and earrings. Also wearing family order of Queen Elizabeth pin.||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||Formal occasion on a visit to Canada||June 23, 1983||Canada|
|19||Long ropes of pearls, partly rapped round neck like a four-strand choker||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||Attending "Expo 86" World Fair, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1986||May 6, 1986||Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada|
|20||Black and white natural pearl beaded necklace||A gift from Prince Charles||Visiting Red Cross infants home for disabled children, in Tokyo, Japan||May 1986||Tokyo, Japan|
|21||Double-strand pearl necklace (ropes), partly rapped around neck like a choker.||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||Visiting Hamburg, West Germany||November 6, 1987||Hamburg, West Germany|
|22||Long single-strand pearl necklace with Garrard's Cross||On loan from Garrard's||Attending a charity event||not known||United Kingdom|
|23||Single-strand pearl necklace, with large pearls, and matching pearl drop earrings||From QEII's personal jewelry collection||Attending Shirley Bassey's concert, in honor of the charitable works of the Prince of Wales, at the Palladium, wearing a yellow suit.||December 5,1990||London, UK|
|24||Eleven-strand pearl choker with diamond and ruby spacers||QEII"s personal jewelry collection||Attending Royal Film Performance of "Hot Shots," wearing a red gown.||November 18, 1991||London. UK|
|25||Same as 24 above||QE II'S personal jewelry collection||Attending the premiere of "1492 Christopher Columbus."||October 19, 1992||London, UK|
|26||Eight-strand pearl choker combined with a single-strand of drop shaped pearls.||QEII's personal jewelry collection||Attending a dance spectacular in London||November 7, 1993||London. UK|
|27||Four-strand pearl neklace||QEII's personal jewelry collection||Attending the Order of the Garter Ceremony in London||June 14, 1993||London, UK|
|28||Four-strand pearl choker||QEII's personal jewelry collection||Attending a function held at the Hilton Hotel||December 16, 1994||London|
|29||Single-strand pearl necklace with diamond clasp and matching earrings||QEII's personal jewelry collection||Official visit of the Princess of Wales to Argentina||Novemer 23, 1995||Argentina|
|30||Swan Lake diamond and pearl necklace||Made by Garrard's on an order placed by the Princess of Wales, but no payment had been made||Attending the Royal Gala Performance of the Swan Lake Ballet, at the Royal Albert Hall||June 3, 1997||London, UK|
The table above gives a summary of the pearl jewelry worn by the Princess on 30 different occasions, giving the type of pearl jewelry worn, the actual owner of the piece worn, the date the photograph was taken, and the location where the photograph was taken. A careful study of this table brings out some interesting facts given below :-
1) Most of the jewelry worn by her came from Queen Elizabeth II's personal jewelry collection, except for a few pieces that actually belonged to Princess Diana, such as the "Triple-strand pearl choker, with a turquoise and pearl cluster clasp" given to her as a gift by the Spencer family on her 18th birthday. Piece No. 7, the five-strand pearl choker which she wore after the wedding festivities was loaned to her by her sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale. Piece No. 20, the black and white natural beaded pearl necklace was a gift from Prince Charles. the Prince of Wales. Most of the jewelry that came from the QEII's personal collection were returned to the collection, after Diana's final legal separation from Prince Charles in 1996.
2) Some of the pieces have been worn on more than one occasion, eg. the triple-strand pearl choker on occasions 1, 2, 3 & 5; seven-strand pearl choker with a sapphire and diamond centerpiece on occasions 9 & 10; single-strand pearl necklace and matching pearl ear drops on occasions 12 & 13 & 18;eleven-strand pearl choker with diamond and ruby spacers on occasions 24 & 25.
White House photograph of Princess Diana wearing 7-strand pearl choker with diamond and sapphire centerpiece
3) There is only one piece, that Diana got the Crown Jewelers Garrards to design for her using her own resources. That was the "Swan Lake Diamond and Pearl Necklace and the matching earrings" the fatal piece of jewelry that was only half completed when she died.
4) Most of the formal occasions she attended and where she was photographed were held in London, in the United Kingdom. Among the occasions she attended during her visit to foreign countries include those held in the following countries :- Australia (April 1983), New Zealand (April 1983), Canada (June 1983), Sicily, Italy (April 1985), Washington, United States (Nov.1985), British Columbia, Canada (May 1986), Tokyo, Japan (May, 1986), Hamburg, West Germany (Nov 1987), Argentina (Nov. 1995).
5) Most of the foreign tours she undertook were before 1987, with her husband Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, before strains in their marriage became obvious. After the formal announcement of the legal separation in December 1992, until the finalization of her divorce in 1996 and until her death in 1997, she undertook several visits abroad in connection with her promotion of the international campaigns against leprosy and the stigma associated with the disease, isolation and victimization of AIDS sufferers and the production, stockpiling and use of landmines. These visits are not reflected on the table.
6) Between the formal announcement of the legal separation in December 1992 and the final settlement of the divorce in August 1996, Diana had been wearing pieces from the Queen's personal jewelry collection, such as the 8-strand pearl choker combined with drop-shaped pearls in November 1993, four-strand pearl necklace in June 1993, four-strand pearl choker in December 1994, and single-strand pearl necklace with diamond clasp and matching earrings in November 1995. However, these pieces appear to have been returned to the collection after the final settlement.
The sources of jewels worn by Diana, Princess of Wales during her 15-year period of marriage to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, come under the following categories :-
1) Jewels gifted by Prince Charles, beginning with the fabulous Sri Lankan blue-sapphire and diamond engagement ring purchased by Prince Charles in 1981 for Â£28,000. Other gifts by Prince Charles include the black and white natural pearl bead necklace and the charm bracelet presented on the 10th anniversary of their marriage.
2) Jewels gifted and loaned from Queen Elizabeth II's personal jewelry collection, that included precious heirlooms from the royal family, such as Queen Mary's Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, given as a wedding gift by the Queen to Princess Diana; a tiara that subsequently came to be closely associated with Princess Diana. Another gift given by the Queen was the Cambridge emerald choker, a part of Queen Mary's Cambridge and Delhi Dunbar Parure, which Diana famously wore as a bandeau across her forehead at a charity event in Melbourne, Australia, in 1984. Most of the jewels worn by Princess Diana were on loan from QEII's personal jewelry collection.
3) Jewels from the Spencer heirlooms, the most notable among which was the Spencer Tiara, which she wore quite often for formal occasions, like the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara. Other Spencer jewelry she wore included the famous Triple-strand Pearl Choker, which was a gift from the Spencer family on her 18th birthday. On the day of her wedding she wore a pair of diamond pendant earrings that was given on loan to her by her mother Frances Spencer. Other Spencer family jewels worn by her include, the "Spencer family diamond and pearl drop necklace," the "Francis Shand-Kydd diamond necklace,"
4) Jewels received as wedding gifts from other monarchs and heads-of-state who attended her wedding. A prominent example of such a gift was the magnificent sapphire and diamond suite presented by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, consisting of a sapphire and diamond pendant suspended by a diamond necklace made of a chain of brilliant-cut diamonds set in gold, matching pair of earrings and rings also made of sapphire and diamonds, a two-row bracelet of brilliant-cut diamonds with a large sapphire centerpiece, and a matching wristwatch with a strap made up of sapphires and diamonds. The only diamond necklace owned by Princess Diana was the solid chain of brilliant-cut diamonds set in gold, that was part of the sapphire and diamond suite presented by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
The divorce of Charles and Diana was finalized on August 28, 1996. Under the terms of the divorce settlement Diana received a lump-sum payment of $23 million and was granted an annual allowance of $600,000 to meet the expenses related to her office. She was also allowed to keep her nine-room apartment in Kensington Palace, and given equal access with Prince Charles to her children Prince William, 13, and Prince Harry, 11, the second and third in line to the succession of the British throne respectively. In spite of the divorce Buckingham Palace maintained that Diana was still officially a member of the Royal Family, since she was the mother of the second and third in line to the throne. She was allowed the continued usage of the jewels given to her from the Queen Elizabeth II's personal jewelry collection, both gifts as well as items given to her on loan, on condition that they could not be lent or sold. She was also allowed to travel with approval as representative of the royal family. However, in keeping with traditions applicable to divorced wives of royals, she was stripped of the privilege to call herself "Her Royal Highness" but allowed to retain the title "Princess of Wales." Accordingly, she was now referred to as "Diana, Princess of Wales." After her divorce she also gave up most of the charities she had been working with and limited herself to a few, such as a children's hospital, a cancer hospital, promotion of the ballet and campaigns against Homelessness, AIDS, Leprosy, and Landmines.
Even though she still had the privilege of using the QEII jewels during her separation with effect from December 1992 and after the finalization of her divorce in 1996, we rarely see her using these jewels again, especially after her withdrawal from public life as announced in December 1993. Thus the possible reasons that might have prompted her to place an order with Garrards for a diamond and pearl necklace can be :-
1) Her reluctance to continue to use the QEII jewels for formal occasions, as the Princess of Wales, after her divorce.
2) Her desire to build up her own collection of jewelry, that could possibly be inherited in the future by the spouses of her two beloved sons William and Harry, who would one day be the future queen of the United Kingdom.
3) The financial independence she had achieved after her favorable divorce settlement, that had put at her disposal enough resources to build up an independent and modest collection of jewelry, which she could use as and when she pleased.
Her personal involvement and advice at all stages of designing the "Swan Lake Diamond and Pearl Necklace" and matching earrings, shows her dedication in achieving her objective of putting together a modest collection of her own. Perhaps the "Swan Lake Suite" was the first piece in her intended collection partly inspired by her designing skills, and more exquisitely designed pieces would have followed if not for the cruel intervention of fate.
Princess Diana, as Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales was involved with many charitable activities, both national and international, in her capacity as the Princess of Wales. However, after the finalization of her divorce she gave up most of these activities, and confined herself to a few selected charities, and one of them was the promotion of the English Ballet. Even after her divorce, she continued to serve as the Patron of the English National Ballet. This was probably consistent with her childhood dream of becoming a ballet dancer; a dream that was not realized and she hoped to fulfill partially by promoting ballet dancing.
Diana, Princess of Wales
It was in this capacity as the Patron of the English National Ballet, that Princess Diana was invited as the royal guest of honor and chief guest at the Royal Gala Performance of Derek Deane's ballet "Swan Lake" held at the Royal Albert Hall on June 3, 1997. The invitation printed for the occasion reads as follows :- The Royal Gala Committee and the Board of Governors of English National Ballet request the pleasure of your company at the Royal Gala Performance of Derek Deune's "SWAN LAKE" in the gracious presence of Diana, Princess of Wales, Patron, English National Ballet, at The Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, June 3, 1977.
Diana, attended the Royal Gala Performance of Derek Deane's "Swan Lake" dressed in a sky blue beaded evening dress, and wearing the stunning diamond and pearl necklace completed by Garrard's just a few days earlier. Little did she realize that this occasion was going to be her last official engagement before her final date with destiny. Tim Graham's photograph of Diana wearing the blue evening dress and the diamond and pearl necklace carrying a bouquet of flowers at the time she was received when she arrived at the Royal Albert Hall for the function, a portrait of unmatched elegance and beauty, a hallmark of the late princess, has helped to capture this historic moment, her last official engagement, for posterity.
Diana Princess of Wales with the Swan Lake Ballerinas
Â©Guernsey's Auction Catalogue
Derek Deane was born on June 18, 1953, at Redruth, Cornwall, England, where he grew up and had his early education. Later he joined the Royal Ballet School and after completing his training, joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1972 as a dancer, becoming Senior Principal Dancer in 1978, and creating roles in several ballets including "Mayerling" and "Valley of Shadows." He also choreographed several works, such as "Fleeting Figures" (1984) and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" for Saddler's Wells Royal Ballet. He left Royal Ballet in 1989, becoming the Deputy Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer at Teatro dell Opera in Rome from 1990 to 1992, and also working freelance. In 1993, he joined English National Ballet as Artistic Director, serving in this capacity until 2001. Some of the new productions he staged during this period include "Giselle" in 1994, "Swan Lake" and "Nut Cracker" in 1997 and "Romeo and Juliet" in 1998. He also choreographed "Alice in Wonderland," a full-length ballet in 1995. It was for the Royal Gala Performance of his "Swan Lake" in June 1997, that Diana, Princess of Wales, attended as the Royal Guest of Honor and Chief Guest.
Derek Deane, Dancer, Choreographer and Director
Derek Deane's "Swan Lake" had scored many successes since its first staging at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997. "Swan Lake" staged at arena venues in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, attracted nearly 250,000 people. In the year 2007, the staging of Derek Deane's "Swan Lake" in the gardens of Chateau of Versailles, on a floating stage, attracted nearly 23,500 people. The 2006/2007 season was English National Ballet's most successful season, attracting over 280,000 people, that included 63,000 people at the Wembley Stadium for the "Concert for Diana," and 44,000 people that attended Derek Deane's "Swan Lake" at the Royal Albert Hall. The worldwide television audience for "Concert Diana" was estimated to be over 5 million. All net proceeds from the "Concert for Diana" was given to the five charities supported by the late Princess at the time of her death. In 2008, the English National Ballet Company continued its international touring schedule, by staging performances of Derek Deane's "Swan Lake" at the China Century Theatre in Beijing, from January 30 to February 3, 2008. The 2007/2008 season of English National Ballet turned out to be one of the most successful, the London season alone selling over 88,900 tickets and netting Â£2.88 million at the box office, and elsewhere in Liverpool, Southampton, Bristol and Oxford, 63,000 tickets being sold, netting Â£1.3 million at the box office.
Derek Deane's contribution and services to dancing and ballet finally received due recognition, 28 years after he embarked on his career, when in the year 2000 he was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire), by being included in the year 2000 Queen's Birthday Honors List, for his dedicated services to dancing in general, and in particular for services rendered as artistic director of English National Ballet.
Swan Lake, based on Russian folk tales and ancient German legend, that tells the story of Odette. a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse, was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's first ballet, staged on February 27, 1877, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and considered by many to be one of the greatest classical ballets of all time. The romance and beauty of this classic ballet and its different adaptations by ballet companies and theatres across the world, has mesmerized audiences for over a century, and continue to draw crowds whenever and wherever it might be staged, even today.
Tachaikovsky- Composer of the original musical score of Swan Lake
Surprisingly, the premier of Swan Lake was not well received, with almost unanimous criticism of the dancers, orchestra and the decor. Tachaikovsky's masterful musical score was lost in the debacle of the poor production. However with modifications of the cast, musical score, decor etc. Swan Lake had a total of 41 performances, between its premiere and the final performance of 1883. The ballet was then revived again in 1895 at St. Petersburg, after the death of Tachaikovsky in 1893, by choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Tachaikovsky's musical score, being revised by Riccardo Drigo. This 1895 version of Swan Lake, according to Petipa, Ivanov and Drigo became the standard version of the ballet, copied by other ballet companies across the world. All adaptations of Swan Lake over the last century had made modifications to the ballet's scenario, but still maintained the traditional choreography for the dances, that was considered almost sacrosanct. There had been around 30 notable Swan Lake ballets staged by ballet companies and theatres from different cities in Europe and America, between 1901 and 1999, based on the 1895 edition of Petipa-Ivanov-Drigo. These cities include Moscow, Prague, London, New York City, Leningrad, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, Chicago, Toronto, Hamburg and Washington D.C.,
After the Royal Gala Performance of "Swan Lake" held at the Royal Albert Hall on June 3, 1997, Princess Diana returned the diamond and pearl necklace to the Crown Jewelers, Garrard's, in order to enable them design a matching pair of earrings for the necklace. The expert craftsmen of Garrards set to work on the pair of matching earrings, using the same combination of brilliant-cut diamonds, marquise-cut diamonds and drop-shaped pearls, and the suite was completed towards the end of August 1997. However, tragically shortly after the suite was completed, Diana, the Princess of Wales, met with her untimely death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. Thus unfortunately, she never had the chance of seeing or wearing the completed suite, which after her death came to be known as "Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Suite."
Even though Diana had placed the order for the suite, with the Crown Jewelers, she had not made any payment, whether as advance or full payment, either before commencement of work on the suite or during the course of its manufacture. Thus, after her death, Garrard's still owned the suite, and were free to do whatever they pleased with the suite. The suite of jewels known as "Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Suite" thus became the only jewels worn by the Princess, that could now be disposed to any prospective customer. The other pieces such as those borrowed or gifted from QEII's collection were returned to the collection. Any of the pieces that belonged to her personally, obviously would have been placed in safe custody until her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry are able to claim it one day.
Garrard's placed the completed "Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Suite" in the display cases of their store, in anticipation of finding a suitable customer for the suite. Not long afterwards one of their valued customers called over at their stores, to pick up a bracelet that was being repaired. When informed of the availability of the suite, and the royal provenance associated with it, the valued customer, who was none other than the former managing director of the London office of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank, decided to purchase the suite on the spot, as a birthday present for his wife. He wrote a check for an unspecified some of money, and walked out of the store with the suite. It is said that the company even waived the charges of the bracelet repairs after the purchase of the suite. Another version of the story identifies the valued customer as an English businessman.
Moments after leaving the Garrard's store, the buyer called his wife and informed her of the gift that he had just purchased for her. When asked what it was he did not reveal the nature of the gift, and kept it a secret until he reached home. The wife was excited and waiting in anticipation to discover the exact nature of the gift. When she finally did, she was thrilled, flattered and overwhelmed, to be able to own a jewelry suite that was once worn by the people's princess, Diana. Even though the couple lived partly in London, they spent much of their time in a quiet English hill town in the countryside, where there was hardly any occasion, that would warrant the adorning of a necklace and a pair of earrings, once worn by the Princess of Wales. Thus the wife of the new owner of the necklace wore it occasionally and very privately, for small parties attended by themselves or a couple of friends. The new owners of the necklace said, "We're just not in that circuit where it makes sense to be wearing a major, major piece. We're not using it, so it would be better if someone else enjoyed it."
The anonymous English couple, owners of the "Swan Lake Suite," with whom the suite had remained for over two years, decided to put it up for sale at a Guernsey's auction in New York, which was scheduled for December 16, 1999. An auction catalogue published for the special auction, stated that the jewels had been put up for sale because "the couple's life centered in the countryside without suitable occasions for wearing jewels as prominent as these." A spokeswoman of the company also added that the couple would also be making an undisclosed but significant donation to the "Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund" from the proceeds of the sale. The auctioneers further claimed that the jewels were the only known pieces worn by Princess Diana that was likely to be ever available for auction. A west coast auction preview of the "Diana, Princess of Wales Swan Lake Suite" was held at the Beverley Hills Hotel, in California, on November 23, 1999.
The auction held at Guernsey's auction house on December 16, 1999, at New York was open to the public. Tremendous interest was shown in the necklace and the matching pair of earrings, by prospective buyers. When the auction got underway in the packed auction house, there was keen bidding by several buyers, but the successful bid finally came via telephone, from a 48-year-old Texan memorabilia collector James McIngvale, who purchased the suite for Â£362,500, equivalent to $580,000. The pre-sale estimate of the necklace was placed at $500,000. Mr. McIngvale was delighted at his success in making the purchase of the jewels with a royal provenance. Earlier in 1999, he also purchased rock legend Elvis Presley's favorite car - a 1956 Mk2 Lincoln Continental - at another New York sale. According to a Guernsey's spokeswoman, millionaire McIngvale was expected to place the jewels on display at his Houston furniture showrooms. A portion of the money realized from the sale was expected to go to the UNICEF's landmine awareness campaign, which the princess supported.
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1) Swan Lake - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
2) Swan Lake - The Most Popular of All Classical Ballets - www.about.com
3) Derek Deane - English National Ballet, www.ballet.org.uk
4) Derek Deane - Answers.com - www.answers.com
5) Derek Deane - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6) List of productions of Swan Lake derived from its 1895 revival - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
7) English National Ballet's Christmas season at the Coliseum ends in a sea of flowers - Press release. www.ballet.org.uk
8) Princess Diana Swan Lake Suite Jewels, Auction Catalogue - Worthopedia - Premier Price Guide - www.worthpoint.com
9) Diana's last necklace fetches Â£362,500 - BBC News, Friday 17 December 1999. - www.news.bbc.co.uk
10) Princess Diana's Jewelry Sold for $580,000 - Rapport News, www.diamonds.net
11) Diana, Princess of Wales - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
12) Princess Diana Biography - www.biographyonline.net
13) Princess Diana's Jewels - www.princessdianaremembered.com
14) Charles is said to offer Diana huge settlement - The New York Times - Friday, October 2, 2009. www.nytimes.com
15) Diana accepts Charles divorce terms - The Independent News. www.independent.co.uk
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