ASIAN PRIVATE collectors took home two prized royal heirlooms from a Christie's auction held in London. The two collectors made the highest bids for Princess Margaret's diamond riviere, given to her by Queen Mary, and a tiara, which the princess wore for her wedding. The diamond riviere, circa 1900, came with handwritten notes naming the necklace after a previous owner as the 'Lady Mount Stephen'. It sold for about US$1.8 million. The tiara, created in 1870 for Lady Poltimore, sold for about US$1.7 million at the June auction. Pansy Ku, Christie's business manager for jewellery and watches, said any kind of jewellery with royal provenance or famous previous owners was sought after. 'People may not wear them, but they just like to own a piece of history. With the money they paid they could have bought a huge diamond with guaranteed investment value. It's really a desire to own a piece of history. From the investment point of view, the value will only go up because they come with certificates from Kensington Palace,' she said. Royal heirlooms aside, she said that any jewellery handed down over generations had sentimental value, even if not spectacular. 'It can be grandma's wedding band or jadeite passed from one generation to another.' Jadeite has mythical power and is regarded as a symbol of good fortune and longevity by the Chinese. So a rare, single-strand jadeite necklace comprising 63 matching emerald green beads, which is coming up for auction on November 30 at Christie's in Hong Kong, will be much sought after. Its value is estimated at HK$20 million to HK$25 million. Ms Ku said a Golconda diamond of 10.86 carats in an antique marquise cut was a rare gem to keep in the family. The diamond was guaranteed to have history because India's Golconda mine was depleted by the 18th century, and for one to survive in the original cut was even more rare. The estimate is HK$6.4 million to HK$9.5 million. The auction also features a 37.52-carat Burmese ruby. 'It is rare to get a Burmese original ruby that is not heat treated. To get one this size is even more rare, especially as the mines are depleted,' Ms Ku said. The ruby cabochon is set on a ring and is valued between HK$7.8 million and HK$12 million. Also under the hammer is a double strand of natural pearls. Though pearls cannot be dated, they are thought to be pre-20th century, before natural pearl resources were depleted and the Persian Gulf stopped producing natural pearls. The piece has 130 pearls that have not yellowed with age and a vintage Cartier clasp. The value is HK$2.6 million to HK$4 million.