Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Soraya of Iran, who died on this day in 2001! The Shah’s second wife who became an Actress after their forced divorce and was known as the ‘Princess with the sad eyes’, Princess Soraya possessed a magnificent jewellery collection, which she retained after her divorce, among which was included this spectacular Harry Winston Diamond Necklace!
Featuring nine spectacular pear-shaped diamonds, suspended from two rows of modern-cut diamonds, this necklace was likey acquired by the Shah of Iran in the mid-1950s, and was notably worn by the then Queen Soraya with her Diamond Tiara at a Banquet for the President of the Italian Republic Giovanni Gronchi in the gardens of Golestan Palace in Tehran in 1957, and on a State Visit to Lebanon that same year.
Princess Soraya retained the Harry Winston Diamond Necklace after her divorce, wearing it during the 1960s when she had a brief career as an actress, most often with a pair of spectacular pear-shaped diamond earrings, for a series of glamorous Gala Dinners and Film Premieres.
Princess Soraya continued to wear the necklace into her old age, with notable appearences including her birthday party at the Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen in 1999, and a Millennium Gala on New Year’s eve in 2000. After her death in 2001, Princess Soraya’s jewellery collection was inherited by her brother, Prince Bijan, who passed away a week later without a will and no heirs who came forward. Instead, the city of Cologne, where Prince Bijan lived, decided to auction the entire collection at Beaussant-Lefevre in Paris, raising ₤6.5 million which were turned over to the finance office of North Rhine Westfalia in Germany.