Family offers to share take from sale of heirlooms
PHUKET : A couple from Narathiwat plans to aid His Majesty the King's charities and victims of violence in the far South with proceeds from the sale of family heirlooms for 89,000,001 baht. Such a large sum of money might seem out of reach for Abdulla Hassan, 36, and his wife Rosita, who run a modest Muslim restaurant near Rajabhat University's Phuket campus.
But Mrs Rosita, 33, told a press conference yesterday she is selling, with family consent, a 200-year-old ring and bracelet from the Pattani royal court that were given to her by her in-laws as wedding gifts.
She plans to keep 30% of the proceeds and donate the rest. She will present a large share to the King and charities under his patronage.
Part of the money will also aid orphanages, soldiers and people affected by the unrest in the far South. It will also go towards building important structures such as mosques.
Mrs Rosita is the fifth generation to inherit the jewellery, which the family keeps on an altar. She has been told the diamond-studded ring and ornate bracelet were given to an ancestor of her in-laws _ a cook for the Pattani ruler.
The couple took the pieces to the School of Gemological Sciences (Thailand) on Aug 4 where their authenticity was certified.
Mrs Rosita said the institute told her the diamonds, surrounding a 7.5-carat ruby on the ring, display a rare, ancient cut and both pieces were made with exceptional workmanship.
She said the family has put the ring and bracelet up for 89 million and one baht, although the pieces could fetch much more money on the open market.
The price, she said, is significant. Eight is for the King's 80th birthday, nine being the ninth reign, and one declaring His Majesty the single person held in highest reverence.
The couple have three sons and no daughter to pass the jewellery on to, Mrs Rosita said. She also does not want the sons fighting over the pieces.
Mrs Rosita insisted she did not crave publicity and was not bothered by any threat to her personal safety by selling the jewellery.
''We're not in this for fortune or fame. We're just ordinary folk,'' she said.
Wednesday August 13, 2008