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$16m diamond on show

Manama, November 1, 2007

A stunning diamond which could fetch $16 million (about BD6 million) at auction later this month will go on display in Bahrain today, heading the bill at a one-day public exhibition of gems.

People will be given the chance to see highlights of the Magnificent Jewels exhibition, organised by top UK-based auction house Sotheby's in conjunction with HSBC Private Bank, in the yellow majlis room at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.

The show is going ahead despite a muddle in which a public relations consultant working for organisers told the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, that it had been cancelled due to a mix-up with the Ritz-Carlton.

Sotheby's worldwide director of sales publicity Matthew Weigman yesterday blamed a breakdown in communications for the announcement.

'The public exhibition is going on as planned, it has never been pulled,' he said.

Serious potential buyers and window shoppers are expected to flock to the exhibition, being held from 10 am to 7 pm.

Models displayed some of the stunning gems and jewellery in a sneak preview for the Press yesterday.

An 87 carat white diamond will be the biggest crowd-puller at the event - the flawless gem being the largest brilliant-cut diamond ever offered at auction and certified as having the 'best possible characteristics for a colourless diamond' by Sotheby's.

'The diamond is one of the most important stones ever offered at auction, and this is probably the most important exhibition of magnificent jewellery that we ever travelled with,' Weigman said.

However, for those with deep pockets there are 75 other items of glittering jewellery to catch the eye at the exhibition, including an emerald and diamond bracelet which was given by former UK monarch Edward VIII to his mistress Wallis Simpson, when he was still Prince of Wales and before he abdicated as king to marry the American divorcee.

'The Prince of Wales gave her the bracelet over the Christmas of 1935, when they were separated and his father was dying,' said Sotheby's head of jewellery in Geneva Brett O'Connor.

'In 1936 his father died and he became king and later that year he abdicated.'

The bracelet, inscribed on the back with the date of Christmas 1935 and Edward's initials, is expected to fetch around $700,000.

Also displayed yesterday was a set comprising a ruby and diamond neckless, earrings and ring, manufactured by top UK-based jewellers Asprey and is estimated at $1.2 million.

The exhibition has been on tour in Geneva, Hong Kong, Paris, London and Dubai before reaching Bahrain and the jewels on show will be auctioned off in two separate auctions.

The 87 carat diamond which is the highlight of the show will be auctioned in Geneva on November 14 with other jewels going under the hammer in New York early next month. - TradeArabia News Service

 




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