A diamond-encrusted handbag designed exclusively for Princess Diana by her best friend is to sell at charity auction for £30,000. Diana personally asked Lana Marks to create a 'one off' handbag for her in 1995. Lana came up a dazzling top-handle tote which Diana described as "the most beautiful handbag imaginable".
The princess sent Lana a handwritten thank you note and was so impressed she ended up buying 15 of the bags.
Now, to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana's death, Lana Marks has created a one-of-a-kind edition of the luxury bag. The jewel-encrusted handbag, which is part of Lana Marks' signature range, is rich emerald green and made from crocodile skin.
The exclusive handbag will be auctioned on 26 September
It features a soft heart clasp encrusted with 225 3.22 carat white diamonds set by hand on 18k yellow gold.
Lana said she designed the latest Princess Diana bag because she wanted to do "something special" for her late friend. The South African designer Lana added: "She would love the bag and it reminds me of her. The heart is particularly soft and rounded. It may appear very simple but it is not.
"She was the princess of hearts. I want people to remember this beautiful person. She was somebody who inspired."
Princess Diana was a fan of Lana Marks' designs
Experts estimate the unique lot will fetch around £15,000 to £30,000 for the American Red Cross when it goes under the hammer next month.
Diane D'Amato, Director of Luxury Accessories at Heritage Auctions, said: "When Lana Marks and Princess Diana met they became friends instantly. They had a very special relationship.
"They would call and speak to each other. It was much more than just a business relationship. Now that it is 20 years ago that Princess Diana passed, she had an idea to create a one-of-a-kind bag to sell, with all the proceeds going to the American Red Cross. She wanted to pick a charity that was near and dear to Princess Diana's heart.
The money raised will go to the American Red Cross, a charity chlose to Diana's heart
"We are going to start the bidding at $10,000 but we are looking for an incredible result. We have never done this before and Lana Marks has never created a bag like this before. This is honouring Diana's memory and we are expecting a lot of interest."
Lana Marks has designed luxury handbags for the likes of Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Chloe Sevigny, Lucy Liu, and Jennifer Aniston. She is also the purveyor of handbags to the most prominent royal families in the world.
The Diana bag will go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, California on 26 September, with bidding kicking off on 5 September.