(Last Updated on : 28-01-2014)
Pratapsingh Gaekwad, the Maharaja of Baroda, and his second wife, the beautiful Sita Devi, were considered to be a golden couple. They were known for throwing superb parties; at a moment's notice they whizzed off to Europe and America and also owned chests full of stunning jewels.
In the year 1956 they were divorced. Till date their relaxing life lasted. After their separation, the maharani went to France along with their only child, the ten-year-old Prince Sayaji Rao Prataprao Gaekwad. Sayaji's nickname was 'Princie'. As the maharani was a habitual squanderer, she gracefully slipped into the Parisian high life; sparkling wine parties, furs and film stars were all part of a day that began at two o'clock in the afternoon and ended at dawn. She became trademark as she took Paris by tempest and her ruby-encrusted cigarette holder. Princie was carefully indulged by his mother, and every evening the white Rolls Royce, bearing the Baroda crest, would whisk mother and son off to a lively party.
The Paris branch of the jewellers, Van Cleef & Arpels one evening invited the obstinate maharani and the pampered prince for a baptism ceremony party and they drafted into the party. In that ceremony a beautiful cushion-shaped rose pink diamond, weighing 34.64 carats, was to be named. The little Gaekwad delighted his hosts so much that they called the gem 'Princie' after him.
On March 17, 1960, the Princie diamond had been bought by Van Cleef & Arpels for £46,000 at Sotheby's auction in London. The dealer had chosen to remain unidentified. The diamond was whispered to have come from the Nizam of Hyderabad's magnificent collection of jewels, at the time of the sale. But some information claimed that it had been a part of the state jewels of Turkey.
Van Cleef & Arpels mounted the Princie diamond as a pendant on a necklace of baguette-cut diamonds, after the baptism, and sold it to a strange buyer.