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Princess Ball Auction To Include $3 Million ‘Titanic’ Necklace

Sat., March 21, 1998

A heartfelt gift from Princess Diana to her trusted butler and confidant Paul Burrell as well as a heart-shaped sapphire necklace copied from the movie “Titanic” are among items set for auction this weekend.

Burrell, in his first role as fund-raising manager of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, on Friday showed reporters the hand-painted enamel box that the woman he called “The Boss” gave him for his birthday last summer.

The blue oval box, painted with the letter “D” crowned with the Spencer family coronet and encircled with a garland of the national flowers of Great Britain, will be among the items for auction at the star-studded Princess Ball.

Proceeds from the ball and auction will benefit the Diana memorial fund as well as Aid for AIDS, a Southern California AIDS organization. Another highlight will be the sparkling, 170-carat sapphire and diamond necklace, “La Coeur de la Mer,” or Heart of the Sea, created by Asprey London.

The $3 million necklace is a version of the jewelry that forms the emotional heart of the Academy Award-nominated movie “Titanic.”

Edward Asprey, chairman of Asprey London, said the company was commissioned four years ago by Twentieth Century Fox to create a costume necklace for the movie.

When “Titanic” became a box office success, the company went back to create a real version - this time set in platinum, featuring 103 diamonds and a 178-carat sapphire.

With the winning bidder’s permission, Celine Dion will wear the necklace at Monday night’s Oscar ceremonies when she sing the “Titanic” theme song.


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