15 APRIL 2008

At a glittering 1980 party in Versailles, shipping heiress Christina Onassis was resplendent in diamonds from her magnificent private collection. Now the stunning pear-shaped 38-carat rock which the daughter of Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis wore that night is to go under the hammer.

The stunning stone is the centrepiece of a collection which represents a slice of 20th-century dynastic history and is expected by auctioneers Christie's to fetch up to £2.2 million when it is sold on June 11.

On Christina's tragically early death in 1988 at the age of 37 her jewellery collection - along with the bulk of the Onassis fortune - passed to her only child Athina, then three.

Other items to be auctioned include a Van Cleef and Arpels ruby necklace, a £120,000 Harry Winston diamond pendant featuring an exceptional sapphire and a rare jade Buddha by Carl Faberge. Estimated to be worth £250,000-£350,000, the statue had pride of place on the luxury yacht owned by the Athenian patriarch and named, of course, after his daughter.

Photo: ©
Aristotle Onassis' daughter is seen here at a Versaille soiree in 1980 wearing the stunning gem which forms the centrepiece of the collection being auctioned off in JunePhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
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Also part of the £2.2-million lot is this Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond collarPhoto: © Reuters
Photo: ©
Christina's fabulous jewellery passed to her daughter Athina, along with an extensive real estate portfolioPhoto: © Reuters
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