The beautiful Marilyn Monroe, pictured here, was photographed in 1953 by photographer Frank Povolney at the Jewellery Academy's Best Friend Ever Diamond Awards ceremony. Ironically, Marilyn did not own a single real diamond or piece of jewelry at the time. Most of the clothes and jewelry she wore to events and photo shoots were borrowed from the studio.
The lemon yellow Moon diamond looked stunning on Marilyn and was the largest piece of jewelry Marilyn ever wore. And today we're talking about him, the pear-shaped, canary-yellow Moon of Baroda diamond.
The incredibly transparent, fancy-yellow stone weighing 25394 carats was found sometime between the 15th and 16th centuries in the legendary diamond mines of Golconda and brought to the Indian principality of Baroda.
There it was given the ancient shape of a pear weighing 24.04 carats, which perfectly matched the headdress of Indian nobles.
For most of its nearly 500-year history, the diamond was in the treasury of the powerful Gaekwad, the Indian maharaja dynasty that ruled the principality of Baroda for over two centuries. The stone was kept together with works of art, handmade carpets, gold sculptures and other priceless treasures of the maharajas.
The beautiful stone is surrounded by ancient legends and superstitions, some related to the diamond itself, others to its owners. Thus, the bearer of a diamond should be on guard when crossing rivers, lakes, ponds, and generally all water surfaces.
Finally, in the middle of the 18th century, one of the rulers got fed up with the mystique surrounding the diamond and probably decided to get rid of it by sending it as a gift to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa.
It was the time when Austria was trying to build up its lucrative overseas colonial trade and establish its own colonies in India. I suppose the gift was of double significance.
The gift was received with admiration, but politely returned a few years later. Rumors of a possible catch may have reached the imperial court in Vienna after all.
In the early 1920s, Maharaja Sayajirao Gakwad sold the diamond to an unknown buyer. No one heard from him for the next two decades until the diamond was purchased in 1943 by Meyer Rosenbaum of Detroit, president of the Meyer Jewelry Company.
Rosenbaum gave the diamond to Marilyn Monroe for recording the song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and filming the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." where you and I saw it.
In 1990, Moon of Baroda was auctioned at Christie's in New York and fetched $297,000, almost triple its lower estimate.
Eighteen years later, in 2008, the diamond was presented to the public for the first time at the Diamond Divas exhibition in Antwerp.
And on November 27, 2018, the Moon of Baroda was once again the focus of the Magnificent Jewels auction organized by Christie's auction house in Hong Kong. The diamond was offered for sale with a photograph and autograph of Marilyn and was already estimated at HK$4-6 million.