The Attallah cross is named after the former group chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, the late Naim Attallah, who owned the piece of jewelry, which has since been passed onto his daughter Ramsay.
“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 piece,” Attallah said.
The cross is made up of distinct flower designs at the end of each side. The pendant was created by court jewelers Garrard in the 1920s.
The princess famously wore the Attallah cross in October 1987 to a Birthright gala, a charity that works toward the protection of human rights during pregnancy and childbirth. Diana wore a purple Catherine Walker gown that resembled Tudor court dressing.
The cross is estimated to reach 80,000 to 120,000 pounds. The pendant was acquired by Attallah in the 1980s and he would often loan it to the princess to wear over the years.
The cross was only ever worn by the princess publicly and following her death it had not been put on display until now.
The cross has a total diamond weight of approximately 5.25 carats and measures at 136 x 95mm.
“Jewelry 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 colorful, bold and distinctive. To some extent, this unusual pendant is symbolic of the Princess’s growing self-assurance in her sartorial and jewelry choices, at that particular moment in her life,” said Kristian Spofforth, head of jewelry at Sotheby’s London.
“We are confident that this unique 1920s piece of jewelry 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 jewelry collectors, as well as fans of the Princess keen to share part of her history,” added Spofforth.
Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring was selected from Garrard in 1981 and in her last public appearance she wore the Swan Lake necklace, which she collaborated with the brand to create.