What’s the easiest way to amass an amazing jewelry collection? Well, maybe not the easiest, but the quickest way is to marry one of the most wealthy men in the world. When money is no object, it appears like jewels just magically fall from the sky. Or Cartier. Just ask Gabriella Princess zu Leiningen. She married His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, 49th Imam of the Ismaili community, international entrepreneur and horse breeder, and also the founder of the Aga Khan Development Network. And then she divorced him. What happened next was the stuff of legends.
The Princess, wealthy in her own right, having been born into a German philanthropic and and entrepreneurial family, first married Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen after she finished law school. They were married seven years and had one child together. They divorced and she then married Prince Karim in May of 1998, thereby becoming Begum Inaara Aga Khan. They had a son in 2000 and later divorced in 2014 (some reports say they were divorced in 2011). But not before she had amassed a jewelry collection to rival any other. So amazing was it, that we’ve already written about it once before.
What do you do with a vault full of jewelry from your ex that you no longer wear? You auction it off, of course. And so Christie’s was contacted, the collection cataloged and then auctioned off in May of 2016. But not before the world got a look at some outstanding and magnificent pieces. If you want to go down an hours deep rabbit hole, go look at the auction catalog. I promise you won’t be disappointed (your boss might be however, since you’ll get nothing else done today).
There were signed pieces and historic pieces alike. There were colored stones and diamonds. And enough Croisillon Schlumberger bracelets to choke one of the Prince’s horses. It turns out, the Princess knew every piece well, as she walked the curators from Christie’s through each one. But then there were the historic pieces. Like the Pohl diamond, having once belonged to Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, the daughter of the founder of Chrysler Motors. The diamond, which had been 38.01cts when owned by Ms. Garbisch, had been acquired by Cartier and recut to 36.09cts before it was purchased in 1998 for Princess Gabriella.
Oh to have been a fly on the wall in that bank vault in Zurich. I’m not even sure my brain could have taken it all in. But I sure would have liked to have tried. Let me know if you go look at the auction catalog (you really should) and if so, what piece is your favorite (so many to choose from). I’ll be right here waiting, trying to figure out how to turn my prince of a husband into a real Prince. 😉