Aga Khan fails to stop former wife's jewellery sale

Auction battle: Legal fight ends with the withdrawal of pieces from multi-million pound disposal of 'sumptuous' collection

MARIANNE MACDONALD

The Aga Khan's final attempt to stop his ex-wife selling her multi-million pound collection of jewels failed yesterday, allowing Christie's in Geneva to press ahead with Monday's auction.

Princess Salimah's jewels are estimated to fetch in excess of pounds 7m and are described by the auction house as the most "sumptuous" to appear on the market since 1987, when the Duchess of Windsor's jewels were sold.

The Aga Khan, one of the world's richest men, had resorted to the courts in the last of several bids to stop his former wife's much-publicised sale. But yesterday's ruling in the Geneva appeals court went against him.

"It's a big relief," Princess Salimah said. Francois Curiel, director of Christie's international jewellery department, commented: "I'm thrilled ... It's the end of a sad story."

The legal fight began after Princess Salimah consigned jewels worth an estimated pounds 7m to Christie's in the summer. The former top model, born Sally Croker Poole, wanted funds to set up a charitable foundation.

But the Aga Khan's lawyers argued in a two-week battle in the courts that under the terms of their client's divorce agreement, made earlier this year, the bulk of the princess's jewellery had to remain within the Aga Khan's family unless she needed to sell for financial reasons.

They won a provisional ruling at the end of last month stopping the auction, and argued at a later court hearing that the divorce agreement gave the Aga Khan first option to buy certain items.

The pieces to be sold include the "Begum Blue", a blue heart-shaped diamond of 13.78 carats which forms the centrepiece of a necklace of 41 smaller heart-shaped diamonds. This is expected to realise pounds 4.5m alone.

Other lots feature pieces by the noted Roman jeweller Buccellati, and a collection of jewels by Harry Winston, Bulgari and Marina B, and Indian Moghul jewellery including an 18th century enamelled "fish" necklace.

The Princess had hoped to offer more than 250 pieces of jewellery; some inherited from her grandmothers, and some which were gifts. They include suites of carved emeralds and diamonds designed for her by Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron and Cartier.

But the court ordered that 23 lots, worth less than pounds 150,000, be withdrawn from the auction and sold to the Aga Khan. However, the glamour of the collection is not much affected. Mr Curiel said: "This is the first time in my 25 years as a jewellery specialist at Christie's that we are offering such a complete and magnificent jewellery collection for sale."

Princess Salimah, 55, was born in Delhi, where her father was an officer in the 6th Lancers. She attended a Parisian finishing school before coming out in 1958, aged 18. A marriage to Lord James Crichton-Stuart lasted two years, and she went on to carve out a career as one of England's top fashion models. In 1969 she married the Aga Khan.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test