Marilyn Monroe’s 24-Carat ‘Moon of Baroda’ Yellow Diamond to Go on Sale in Hong Kong

A 24.04-carat pear-shaped Fancy Yellow Moon of Baroda diamond that worn by Marilyn Monroe will go up for auction in Hong Kong at the end of the month. The historical coloured diamond is expected to fetch HK$4m-6m (US$512,700-769,050). A photograph of Marilyn Monroe wearing the diamond necklace, signed by the actress, will be offered at the same sale without a reserve.

In 1953, Marilyn Monroe famously wore the Moon of Baroda to promote the release of the Howard Hawks film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She wore the diamond while singing the film’s signature song, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. When Monroe first saw the diamond, she was immediately attracted by the stone, which was the largest diamond she ever wore in her lifetime.

But the diamond has a much longer story before it gained international fame as Monroe’s diamond. As with many historic gemstones, concrete evidence of its early history has disappeared. The Gemological Institute of America has recently determined that this historic diamond is from the legendary Golconda mines in India, which, until the advent of the 20th century, produced the finest and largest diamonds in the world.

Most historic stones, such as the Moon of Baroda, were probably discovered in this area between the 15th and 17th centuries. At one time, this alluring diamond may possibly have been part of the vast collection of the Gaekwads of Baroda, one of India’s wealthiest and most powerful ruling families.

In 1990, the diamond was offered at Christie’s in New York, realising US$297,000, nearly tripling its low estimate. After two decades in a private collection, the Moon of Baroda will go under the hammer at Christie’s Magnificent Jewel sale in Hong Kong on 27 November.

The sale also offered a black and white autographed photograph of Marilyn Monroe wearing the Moon of Baroda, signed and inscribed ‘To Meyer Thanks for the chance to wear the Moon of Baroda’. Offered without a reserve, the photograph is estimated at HK$80,000-120,000 (US$10,254-15,381).


Lot details

Historical Coloured Diamond Pendant Necklace
Lot no.: 1961
Diamond: Fancy yellow pear modified brilliant-cut diamond
Carat: 24
Clarity: VS2
GIA report no.: 5192555037
Estimate: HK$4,000,000-6,000,000 (US$512,700-769,050)

Marilyn Monroe Signed Photograph with Frame, Frank Powolny

Lot no.: 1960
Signed and Inscribed ‘To Meyer Thanks for the chance to wear the Moon of Baroda'
Photograph size: 18.2 x 22.5 cm
Estimate: HK$80,000-120,000
(This lot is offered without a reserve)

Auction details
Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels
Lots offered: 267
Date: 27 November 2018|1pm