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Jill Ciraldo and Grace Flynt are admiring the McLean Jewel Collection at the establishment of Harry Winston, Inc., international jewer dealer, of New York. The Hope Diamond is at left above and the "Star of the East" at right, 1949.
Jill Ciraldo and Grace Flynt are admiring the McLean Jewel Collection at the establishment of Harry Winston, Inc., international jewer dealer, of New York. The Hope Diamond is at left above and the "Star of the East" at right, 1949.Bettmann/Corbis
Jill Ciraldo and Grace Flynt are admiring the McLean Jewel Collection at the establishment of Harry Winston, Inc., international jewer dealer, of New York. The Hope Diamond is at left above and the "Star of the East" at right, 1949.
Evalyn Walsh McLean, owner of the Hope Diamond.
The famous Wittelsbach Blue Diamond, brought into the Wittelsbach family by Maria Amelia of Austria on her marriage to Charles Albert Duke of Bavaria in 1722—Part of the collection of the Bavarian Royal Jewels, 1931.
Model Mara Byron displays jewels valued at $ 10,000,000 at a preview of a United Hospital Fund art project exhibition in New York, November 17, 1949.
An 80-carat uncut diamond from Tiffany's.
Audrey Hepburn, about to begin filming for Breakfast At Tiffany's, wears one of the store's most expensive diamond necklaces. New York.
Russian Imperial Gems Shown In New York. Spinach jade Easter egg, decorated with pansies of enamel and diamonds, mounted on a pedestal of twisted gold leaves and twigs, also studded with diamonds. It contains a folding easel in the shape of a diamond-studded heart, covered with translucent enamel. The heart is surmounted by the Imperial Crown in diamonds. It was presented by Czar Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Marie, at Easter in 1899. The work of Carl Faberge, late court jeweler, it is being exhibited with other Russian Imperial jewels and art treasures at the Hammer Galleries in New York City, 1937.
La Peregina Pearl worn by Elizabeth Taylor
The famous tear drop shaped pearl, known as La Peregrina, weighing 203.84 grams.
The heart-shaped watch given to Josephine by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Diamond mounter H G Goodship fits the Black Prince's ruby into one of the four crosses above the circlet of the Imperial State Crown, one of the British Crown Jewels. The crown is currently being remodeled, 1953.
The Imperial State Crown lit by special spot lights in the Queen Alexandra's State Carriage as it precedes the Queen on her way to the State Opening of Parliament, 1962.
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial state Crown and carrying the Orb and sceptre, leaving the state coach and entering Buckingham Palace, after the coronation.
The Monomakh's Cap, before 1884. The Monomakh's Cap was the crown of all Muscovite Grand Princes and Tsars from Dmitri Donskoi to Peter the Great, who replaced it with the Imperial Crown of Russia in 1721. A skullcap decorated with precious stones and pea.
Jill Ciraldo and Grace Flynt are admiring the McLean Jewel Collection at the establishment of Harry Winston, Inc., inter
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See Some of History's Most Extraordinary Jewels

It's no surprise that diamonds are expensive, but one lot in a sale of jewels being held on Tuesday at Sotheby's in Geneva goes above and beyond: the "magnificent fancy vivid pink diamond ring" dubbed the Historic Pink is expected to be sold for up to 17.5 million Swiss Francs, which is nearly $19 million.

That price is due to more than just the 8.72-carat stone at the center of the ring. The diamond is believed to have belonged to Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, a niece of Napoleon Bonaparte and member of the Russian royal family who became a famous Parisian socialite. According to Sotheby's research, the stone was sold as part of a collection from Princess Mathilde in 1904, after which it can be traced directly to the collection of its recent owner, Huguette Clark. Clark herself was pretty much as close to a princess as an American can get: the heiress and philanthropist, who died in 2011 after a reclusive old age, came from spectacular wealth and pedigree.

But the Historic Pink is far from the only gem with a rich back story. Here are some of history's fanciest and most famous jewels.

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