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( The Moon of Baroda, image courtesy of Pinterest)
The Moon of Baroda is a diamond that has been in the possession of the Gaekwads; the royal family of Baroda, which is where this gem was discovered, for about 500 years,. The diamond, when found in the rough was 25.95 carats. A canary yellow shade in colour, it was later cut into a 24.04 carats diamond in the shape of a pear.
(Portrait of Empress Maria Theresa by Martin van Meytens; image courtesy of Dea/ A. Dagli Orti, Getty Images)
The diamond travelled quite a bit and passed through the hands of some rather renowned individuals. It was sent to the Empress Maria Theresa (who was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions/Austrian part of the Holy Royal Empire) by the Gaekwads. However there isn’t any photographic evidence or any visual proof in her portraits, of her ever having worn the necklace. However there are speculations that the necklace may have been worn by one of her youngest daughters, Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI.
(Portrait of Marie-Antoinette by Vigee Le Brun, image courtesy of Biography.com)
Marie-Antoinette was guillotined in 1793; incidentally the myth associated with the necklace is that it brings bad luck to its wearer if it is taken overseas.
Upon its return to Baroda, the Maharaja had the diamond set into a necklace sometime in 1860. The 1920s saw the diamond necklace sold off by the Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad to an unknown buyer. Meyer Rosenbaum of Detroit (who was President of the Meyer Jewelry Company) then purchased the diamond in 1943.
(Marilyn Monroe in a still from the song Diamond’s are a Girl’s Best Friend; image courtesy of Pinterest)
Come 1953, Marilyn Monroe takes over the silver screen with her performance in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where she sings the now famous song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” While promoting the film, Marilyn sported the Moon of Baroda during a shoot which only helped propel the beautiful stone to heightened fame.
(Marilyn Monroe wearing the Moon of Baroda during the promotional shoot for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; images courtesy of Pinterest)
The Moon of Baroda was publicly exhibited in 1944. After which it was out of sight until 2008, when it was put on display at the Diamond Divas exhibition organised by Antwerp World Diamond Centre. In 2012, a Japanese television show claimed they had the Moon of Baroda, where it was authenticated by an expert as the diamond in question and was then appraised for $1.9 million.
It was later sold to a private collector by Christie’s and hasn’t resurfaced in the public eye since.