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If you own a diamond, you might be interested in the history of the gem – especially if cost 40 million dollars. However, a 34-carat pink “Princie” diamond, which was recently auctioned off for a whopping $39,323,750, has a disputed history, which is creating legal debate. An anonymous buyer has purchased the diamond; however, an Italian court is making claims of secret children, a hidden marriage and a mysterious sale in an effort to find out if the rightful owner has rights to the gem. The story brings to mind serious estate issues, highlighting the importance of protecting assets.

Here is what we do know. The diamond was named after the Prince of Baroda and came from south central India somewhere 300 years ago. It was passed down the line of Indian royalty until the 1930s, when it came to the last nizam of Hyderabad. He was a ruler with 149 children.

In the 1940s, the nizam, once noted as the richest person in the world, lost power and began to lose money. He resorted to selling his assets, including the diamond. An unidentified buyer eventually got his or her hands on it – purportedly in Paris.

After decades without sight of the diamond, it magically occurred in a New York auction this month – attached to a consignor who was anonymous.

An investigative journalist for an Italian magazine claims that the diamond was in the possession of Renato Angiolillo during those lost, unaccounted for years. Angiolillo was a prominent senator and founder of a well-known newspaper. Now, Angiolillo’s heirs say the diamond belongs to them. They are also baffled as to how the diamond ended up at the auction.

Recently, the lawyer for the Angiolillo family petitioned the auction to try to stop the diamond from being sold. However, the sale went through. This is because the consigner of the diamond was not affiliated with the Angiolillo family.

This story is a mysterious one, to say the least. At this time, the diamond lies legally in the hands of the person who bought the gem via the auction. Nevertheless, this tale is a fantastic account of the complexities regarding the protection of family assets.

Source: The Daily Beast, “Whose $40 Million Diamond Is It? An Italian Family Feud,” Barbie Nadeau, April 18, 2013