What Am I Bid? (Paul VI’s Diamonds Go on the Block)

Diamond jewels owned by Pope Paul VI going for $1.9 million

Cecilia Jamasmie | March 21, 2014



A New Orleans-based fine antiques store has put up for sale an 18k gold pectoral cross and a platinum ring with more than 75 carats of diamonds, which once belonged to Pope Paul VI (1963 – 1978), expecting to fetch a combined $1.9 million.

According to the auction house’s web site, the two pieces not only are historically significant, but they are also unique as rarely ever Papal jewellery is sold on the market.

The almost 18cm long gold cross features 12 mine-cut diamonds, ranging in size from 3 to 8.66 carats with VVS and VC clarity, run the length and width of the cross totalling more than 60 carats. The $1.25 million piece also includes several Colombian emeralds and tiny diamonds, which fill in the 18k carvings of golden scrolls and leaves along the cross’ edges.

The Papal ring, donated by Paul VI to the United Nations in 1965, is centred with a 13-carat round white diamond surrounded by 14 smaller round diamonds totalling 3.5 carats. The $650,000 piece is set in platinum and flanked by two diamond pavé squares on either side inset with a cross made of rubies.

Diamond jewels owned by Pope Paul VI going for $1.9 million

Both the ring and the cross to be auction by M.S. Rau Antiques are engraved with the Christian Chi Rho symbol, which indicates that both were most probably made by Vatican jewellers in the early 1900′s with existing jewels from the Vatican’s own collection.

Pope Paul VI hoped the proceedings of the jewels auction would help finance the UN’s human relief activities.

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9 comments on “What Am I Bid? (Paul VI’s Diamonds Go on the Block)

  1. Is a pope allowed to do this? Are these type of items his personal property or do they belong to the Chair of St. Peter?

  2. Another thought after skimming the article: Why now? Why not when he donated them or when he died? Why didn’t he auction them personally to make sure the funds when to worthy Catholic causes and not abortion or something?

  3. MEA CULPA: I indicated the sale was to benefit the UN. It is not. The items have obviously been put on the market by whomever bought them from the UN, in or about 1965, or a successor purchaser.

    At some point after being donated to the UN, the New Orleans auctioneer acquired them, I presume, for investment purposes or is acting on behalf of a private owner. They may have been auctioned or sold privately previously, even before he acquired them.

    As to why now, that has nothing to do with the Vatican. They have been in private hands for nearly 50 years.

    My guess is, with this being a huge papal media year, the items will bring in even more than the estimated auction value.

    Btw, the auctioneer deals in first-rate art, including Renoir and Monet, so this is a first-class house handling the sale.

  4. Don’t buy it, it is probably cursed.

  5. “Gee, you’ve been such a wonderful audience that I don’t like to take your money. But I will!”

  6. The article says they were probably made from existing jewels in the Vatican collection. So, was Paul VI actually free to give them to the UN in the first place?

    • That’s a darn good question.

      They were (at least the cross) a gift to him from Pius XII, which must have been when he worked for Pius and before Montini’s Jesuit secretary (a Soviet agent) was caught turning in priests Pius secretly sent behind the Iron Curtain. Every one of them was arrested and shot.

      When the ordained murderer returned with his atheist mistress to Rome, after being exiled, Paul VI forgave him and the man went to work in Vatican City, again!

      Like cubba said, don’t bid on those stones….

  7. But who am I to bid?

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