Sotheby’s will be holding its Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Geneva on November 15, during which a pair of extraordinary yellow diamonds will be sold. Expected to fetch between Dh33 million and Dh51 million, the 82.47-carat and 102.54-carat stones were formerly part of the princely Family von Donnersmarck collection, and were the stars of the show at Sotheby’s inaugural Noble Jewels auction 10 years ago. The pearshaped and cushion-shaped stones, known as the Donnersmarck Diamonds, belonged to La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, one of France’s most famous 19-century courtesans, whose penchant for fine jewellery was legendary. La Païva, who was born in Russia and relocated to Paris at the age of 18, was married to Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, a Prussian industrialist and one of Europe’s wealthiest men, who sated her appetite for exquisite jewels with one of the finest collections in the world. The pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds remained in the Donnersmarck family until 2007, when they were auctioned, and became part of a private collection. Demand for “noble” jewellery with impeccable provenance is at an all-time high, and few stones have such fascinating histories as these exquisite ones.