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(The young Sayajirao a.k.a. Princie and his mother Maharani Sita Devi; image courtesy of News East West)
Maharani Sita Devi is famously known as India’s Wallis Simpson; because the decisions she made in her life were similar to that of her namesake. She met the Maharaja Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad of Baroda at the Madras Race Course; after which she converted to Islam to procure a divorce from her then husband. Sita Devi converted back to Hinduism once she procured the divorce and then married Maharaja Pratapsinhrao. She had one son with the Maharaja, his name was Sayajirao Pratapsinh Gaekwad but was fondly known as “Princie”. He was the apple of her eye and about 3 years old when she first jetted off to Paris with him. Princie was her only child with the Gaekwad and was also her constant companion to social events, especially in Europe.
Van Cleef & Arpels were the Maharani’s favourite jewellers. They purchased the famous 34.65 carat diamond from the jewel collection of the Nizams of Hyderabad in 1960; it is one of the largest pink diamonds to have ever been discovered. The jewellers threw an elaborate do to celebrate this acquisition and the maharani and her young son Princie; all of 14 years, were invited to be guests of honour. This is where the gorgeous pink beauty was christened the Princie Diamond after the young Sayajirao.
(The pink diamond named Princie after the young Sayajirao; image courtesy of News East West )
The young prince grew to be tall and dark and handsome, he inherited his mother’s flair for flashing the priceless family jewels thus leading an extravagant life-style. Sayajirao frequented the classiest joints. His immaculate French accent and dashing good looks were so familiar that he was fondly known as “Princie” to them all.
(Princie and the Maharani, Sita Devi; image courtesy of News East West)
The diamond was recovered from the ancient and famous Golconda mines in Andhra Pradesh (which happens to be the birthplace of the Maharani Sita Devi), South Central India. The extraordinary pink diamond set a new record high at Christie’s New York in April 2013, when it was auctioned off for $39,323,750(almost $40 Million) to an anonymous collector bidding by phone. The price is said to have set a brand new record for a gem auctioned at Christie’s.