(This is an actual life-sized photo of a man holding the Star of Peace diamond)
THE STORY OF THE STAR OF PEACE DIAMOND - 1981 - SaLee' most definitely was the agent on the Star of Peace diamond, which was a matter witnessed by many people, including royal family members and their entourage, as well as security guards who accompanied the diamond (each paid $110.00 per hour/ 24 hrs per day).
While SaLee' was in her jewelry factor in Geneva, Switzerland, she was requested by Union Bank of Switzerland to represent the Star of Peace diamond; which was being marketed by Harry Winston Jewelers.
The marketing of the Star of Peace diamond was carried out on behalf of its owners, through Harry Winston jeweler's sales director, Manfredo "Fred" Horowitz & its international sales director, Serge Fradkoff. Serge shared an interest in very fine horses, as did SaLee', who had arranged the purchase of over 500 black Arabian horses for an Arab Sheikh (which gave him the largest collection of the world's most rare horses - Black Arabian Stallions.) They also shared an interest in extraordinary gem collections, unique jewelry & very rare diamonds, such as the 'Star of Peace.'
It took dozens of trips between the Arabian Gulf and Switzerland to complete the transaction, which was handled in several steps. In fact, the first potential buyer was a Saudi royal, but at the last moment, he changed his mind, and the diamond was offered by SaLee' to her friend, His Highness Sheikh Issa Al-Khalifa, who was then the Emir of Bahrain. SaLee' had been good friends with Mohammed Jamal, who was an adviser to Sheikh Khalifa. But, the diamond was so large and perfectly flawless, so, the only thing one could do with it is to either put it on display or keep it in a safe. This limited the potential buyers to those who did not mind spending double digit millions for gems that would simply be locked away in a safe.
SaLee' then discussed the potential sale of the Star of Peace diamond with His Excellency Ambassador Mahdi Al-Tajir of Dubai, who SaLee knew well and she had previously presented several other extraordinary gems and unique jewelry to him. Originally, SaLee' had shown Mahdi Al-Tajir an antique necklace with multiple long strands of giant pearls, for $1 million. Mahdi asked if SaLee would like to see his personal collection of pearls, and led her to a room with a pool table sized display, holding a giant mound of pearls. SaLee' realized she would need to find bigger and better gems to offer as investments for Mahdi AlTajir & her other Gulf clients.
But, the 'Star of Peace' was only meant for someone of absolutely extraordinary wealth. Anyone less than a multi-billionaire would not qualify. His Highness, Sheikh Zayed, having the highest income in the world at the time, was an obvious best choice.
SaLee' then requested of her friend, Saeed Al-Otaiba, of Abu Dhabi, to place a bank guarantee at the National Bank of Bahrain, so as to allow more time for His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the President & Founder of United Arab Emirates (UAE), to view the diamond; which Saeed did. Saeed was a best friend of Sheikh Zayed and a person of integrity, humility and a joyful personality.
SaLee' then arranged for the diamond to be sold to His Highness Sheikh Zayed of United Arab Emirates, who was interested in buying SaLee' home on the lake in Geneva. Her home on Lake Lemen (called "Lake Geneva" by some) had been visited by several of the royals, including His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed.
One of SaLee's clients, to whom she was an investment advisor, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hamed was a close friend to Sheikh Zayed, and also was his maternal cousin. It was Sheikh Ahmed who arranged the first of several meetings between His Highness Sheikh Zayed and SaLee'. However, SaLee' did not approve of certain people who surrounded Sheikh Zayed, believing they were being dishonest with Sheikh Zayed, so she solicited the help of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed ("MBZ"), who is now the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
SaLee' had first seen His Highness Sheikh Mohammed in London, when he was a student at Sandhurst military academy, while she was a protege' of Sir Harry Schultz, the famous financial advisor. Also, SaLee' was a financial partner for a short time with Steve Cole, of London, in a business called "High Rollers," which rented Rolls Royces, with drivers, to elite clientele, especially embassies. Steve had been SaLee's chauffeur, concurrently while he was chauffeur to Sheikh Mohammed.
Eventually, the Star of Peace diamond was brought under armed guards from Geneva to New York City, where SaLee' Amina was traveling with the business entourage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. From there, the entourage & the Sheikh traveled to Los Angeles on the United Arab Emirates Royal Jet. In Los Angeles, SaLee' advised Sheikh Sultan on investing $2. 5 million in rare Chinese antiques, which he purchased from the Antique gallery that had at the time been located in the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, which was SaLee's home town for nearly all of her adult life.
The two guards who had taken the diamond originally from Switzerland to New York (Roger B. & Will T.), and then continued with the diamond to Los Angeles were joined by a third guard in Los Angeles, Kenny. The diamond was constantly under the care of three guards (Kenny L., Roger B. & Will T.). The guards' first payment for services rendered was paid in a briefcase of cash, amounting to over $90,000.00. Later, Kenny wrote a book, which he dedicated to SaLee', calling her "God's gift to the world."
Then, from Los Angeles, the 'Star of Peace' diamond traveled with His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, on the Royal Jet, to Hawaii, then to Fiji, then to the Arabian Gulf - eventually, bringing the 'Star of Peace' diamond to its intended 'end-buyer.'
A business stop was made at the Ilikai Hotel, in Hawaii, where the royal entourage had a outdoor barbeque, with Sheikh Sultan, during a torrential rainstorm.
Then, the Royal Jet traveled to Fiji, where the official customs & immigration security recommended that we do not disclose our having a $22 million diamond, out of worries that the guards for the diamond could be killed by thieves wishing to steal the diamond. With the knowledge & permission of the Fiji government, the "Star of Peace" diamond was 'smuggled' into & out of Fiji; as per a specific request from Fiji security to His Highness, and his request to SaLee'.
Then, the diamond accompanied SaLee' Amina & the royal entourage to Singapore, then to Abu Dhabi.
Throughout that trip with His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed, wherever the Royal Jet went, the Star of Peace diamond went. The diamond traveled with the guards throughout the trip, except when it had to be smuggled through customs in Fiji, at the suggestion of the official Fiji customs security guards, who feared for the lives of those carrying a $22 million diamond. Only a few in the royal entourage knew how SaLee' transported the diamond into Fiji, without it being detected. It was the topic of many jokes thereafter, among the inner circles of His Highness Sheikh Zayed & SaLee' Amina.
When they arrived on the Royal Jet in Abu Dhabi, with the Star of Peace diamond, SaLee' was registered into the Abu Dhabi Intercontinental Hotel as a V.I.P. guest of the UAE Armed Forces. The three guards who had traveled on the Royal Jet with SaLee' and His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed, and about 15 other people in the entourage (which also included Matar Khamis, who was then working for the Private Department of His Highness Sheikh Zayed), were offered the profoundly generous hospitality by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed.
Sheikh Sultan invited the guards to be his guest for one month in Abu Dhabi. SaLee' paid much of the hotel bill for Roger & Will, because they consumed huge amounts of alcohol, which cost SaLee' nearly $10,000.00. Kenny is a Black Belt bodyguard and former weightlifting champion, who has known SaLee' for decades, and who was assigned the position solely upon her recommendation. He continued in UAE as a bodyguard for other distant members of the Royal families.
Upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, the diamond was then viewed by His Highness, Sheikh Zayed, who had previously only seen it in photographs. Shortly thereafter, the diamond was again put back on the market, through Harry Winston Jewelers. This is typical for collector gems, which often trade hands many times, typically being sold for a profit with each new deal.
It had been claimed by some that a man named Thomas Loader had previously owned the diamond, but SaLee' had never heard of him. Also, it had been claimed that a wealthy man bought it more recently for his girlfriend, and had it mounted in a necklace. This would be likely be impossible, sine a FLAWLESS diamond is purely a 'collector' gem & is NEVER mounted in jewelry, because it must be 'scored' to be securely held in the piece of jewelry, which would cause it to immediately lose most of its value, since it would no longer be 'Flawless."
It would be impossible, and extremely foolish, to mount a FLAWLESS in jewelry because a gem must be scored or drilled to attach to a jewelry mounting, which would eliminate its value as a "flawless" diamond. In fact, Harry Winston jewelers were so concerned about even any surface scratch (which would destroy its value as a "flawless" diamond), that they created a substitute 'fake' diamond in the same dimensions as the Star of Peace, which was kept in New York, for display purposes; while the actual diamond was kept in the safe of a secure & confidential location.
It should be noted that there was a second 'copy' of the Star of Peace, for display purposes, but that display stone, albeit beautiful, was NOT a flawless diamond. SaLee' negotiated the ACTUAL 170.49 carat FLAWLESS "Star of Peace" diamond!
DETAILS ABOUT SOME OF SALEE'S FAMOUS GEM COLLECTIONS:
"The Diamond Lady" - EXCLUSIVE GEMS COLLECTIONS: SaLee' Amina represented large collections of precious gems & individual unique diamonds.
THE LARGEST FLAWLESS DIAMOND IN THE WORLD: THE STAR OF PEACE - 170.40 carats, pear shaped flawlessdiamond. In 1981, SaLee' was requested by Union Bank of Switzerland & Harry Winston jewelers to present the diamond for sale in the Arabian Gulf. After a Bank Guarantee was placed at the National Bank of Bahrain by SaLee’ Amina’s friend & investment client, His Excellency Sheikh Saeed Al-Otaiba, of the UAE, for $22 million USD, the Star of Peace was transported on the UAE Royal Jet to Abu Dhabi, accompanied by 3 security guards, SaLee’ Amina, His highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan & a large entourage of employees of the Private investment Department of his highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan (President & Founder of the UAE,) and at the time, the richest man in the world. Shortly thereafter, due to the less than perfect color of the diamond, it was placed back on the market through Harry Winston's sales director, Manfredo "Fred" Horowitz.
THE LARGEST PEARL IN THE WORLD: "The Pearl of Allah" (previously called "The Pearl of Lao Tzu") was another unusual gem that SaLee' represented. It was a huge irregularly shaped oval pearl that was 'grown' in private pearl beds in the South China Sea, over several generations.
THE RAINBOW DIAMOND COLLECTION: This collection represented by SaLee' contained hundreds of colored diamonds, laid out in a rainbow display. SaLee' originally solicited the collection for His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan, because of his great affection for rainbows. SaLee' also designed 'Rainbow' themed jewelry for the wedding of Sheikh Hamad to the daughter of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan of UAE. SaLee's designs included a rainbow all-gems tiara for the bride, necklace, bracelet & rings; as well as rainbow gem encrusted pen, tie-tack, watch & belt buckle for the groom. Since Sheikh Hamad loved rainbows and cars, his wedding gift from his father-in-law was a collection of Rolls Royces in each color of the rainbow. (Sheikh Hamad drives a different color Rolls Royce each day & has the largest auto collection in the world, with some cars being as large as houses, with wheels that cost $18,000.00 each.)
WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION OF INSCRIBED EMERALDS: One of the exclusive collections that SaLee' represented were unique carved emeralds. Some contained inscriptions of verses from the Quran in Arabic.
A COLLECTION OF HIGH-CARAT WEIGHT CABACHON RUBIES & SAPHIRES: These gem quality polished gems were each as large as oranges & pineapples.
"The Golden Girl"- GOLD MINING & REFINING, JEWELRY & GOLD TRADING: Originally, SaLee' Amina was always known for Gold. She had been involved with Gold mining in California, Arizona, Montana and Indonesia; and with gold refining in Germany and Arizona; as well as with gold brokerage and gold jewelry making. In Switzerland, her 'Sogno' factory designed jewelry & watch faces for 'Cartier', 'Piaget', 'Patek Phillipe' & 'Boucheron'.
THE WORLD GOLD ASSOCIATION ("WGA"): SaLee' was elected Vice President of the WGA (which did not accept women members at the time.) While SaLee' was giving a presentation on Gold investments at an Acapulco Finance Conference, she was discovered by Sir Harry Schultz, known as the 'Gold Guru.' Sir Harry was the highest paid Financial Advisor in the world, & he became SaLee's mentor. SaLee' strongly believes that gold is the one true global currency.
A GENEVA JEWELRY FACTORY - UNIQUE ART, SCULPTURE & JEWELRY:
Along with her careers in business, investments & as an adviser and professional negotiator, SaLee' Amina continued her arts career at the 'Sogno' jewelry factory, in Geneva, where she partnered in creating unique jewelry with Gerard Jolie.
PORTRAITS IN GOLD, & SCULPTURES IN PRECIOUS METALS & GEMS: SaLee's factory specialized in one-of-a-kind pieces, including portraits in solid gold of all of the Arabian Gulf leaders and sculptures made entirely from precious metals and from precious & semi-precious gems. SaLee's works are owned by the Heads of State of England, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Brunei, Yemen, Nigeria; and by celebrities Elizabeth Taylor & Rick James.
QUEEN ELIZABETH OWNS SALEE'S SCULPTURE OF THE BRITANNIA YACHT: The curator of the Queens' collection, Jonathon Marsden, confirmed that SaLee's sculpture of the 'Britannia' Royal Yacht was displayed in the Tower of London, viewed by over 300,000 visitors. It is now installed in Buckingham Palace.
SALEE' - THE DESIGNER
As a designer, SaLee' drew architectural designs for exteriors and also designed interiors in USA and the Middle East. She also designed furniture and urban developments. In fact, during a casual conversation with one of her clients, His Excellency Mahdi Al-Tajir, of Dubai, SaLee' suggested that Dubai create a Palm tree shaped housing development that juts out into the Persian Gulf, which would be seen from the air by every airlines flying overhead. Mahdi asked how that could be accomplished, and SaLee' replied that it would all be outlined with cement sea walls & filled in with land fill. In fact, she drew the design on a napkin, showing Mahdi Al-Tajir where yachts would dock along the trunk of the Palm tree, and villas would be built along the palm fronds.
SaLee's drawing of Palm island became a reality, & 'Palm Island' is now one of Dubai's greatest tourist attraction. (SaLee' took no pay or commission for her 'Palm Island' idea, nor for the Egyptian themed furniture she drew, which ended up in Mahdi Al-Tajir's sitting room on her next business visit with him.)