A tiara crowns the Geneva jewelry auction

A tiara worn at two British coronations and the “Star of Egypt” diamond believed to have belonged to King Farouk were sold on Wednesday after a week of jewelery auctions in Geneva.

Less than a fortnight after the coronation of King Charles III, bidders battled it out for Bessborough’s diamond-set tiara, which was worn during the coronations of his grandfather King George VI in 1937 and his mother , Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.

Art Deco style, in platinum and weighing 136.5 grams, the object sold for 945,000 Swiss francs (1.06 million dollars).

“It’s a work of art and a piece of history,” commented Max Fawcett, head of jewelry at Christie’s in Geneva, which sold the tiara.

The entire sale of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels totaled nearly 41.2 million Swiss francs ($45.8 million), with 11 of the lots fetching more than $1 million each.

On Tuesday, Sotheby’s held its own auction in Geneva, exceeding 76.7 million Swiss francs ($85.4 million).

Sales were dominated by that of the “Bulgari Laguna Blu”, an 11.16-carat blue diamond, which fetched 22.6 million Swiss francs ($25.2 million).

It sold after a four-minute battle between one bidder in the room and three on the phone, one of whom eventually grabbed the gem.

The sale organized by Christie’s also featured the “Star of Egypt”, whose origins are shrouded in mystery. The 105.52 carat unmounted diamond is believed to have been purchased in 1850 by the Viceroy of Egypt, who resold it in 1880. It first appeared on the London market in 1939. It was apparently purchased later by King Farouk, who ruled Egypt from 1936 to 1952.

This sale brought in 2.7 million Swiss francs ($3.02 million) in less than three minutes of bidding.

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