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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.

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