The jewels have not been seen for some 200 years, until early this month when Sotheby’s announced that they will be on auction in Geneva in November.
Marie Antoinette’s life may have ended by her losing her head to the guillotine but long before that, it was covered in a bevy of the most beautiful and rare jewels.
Her love for them not only cost the Queen of France her life, but was said to have started the French Revolution. It all began with the “Affair of the Diamond Necklace” in 1785 that involved the Queen in a fraudulent scandal with jewellery and drama amounting to today’s worth of about US$14 million.
Right before her attempted escape and eventual execution, her main concern still remained her jewels , which she gathered and sent far away for safekeeping. Some speculate that it was to her nephew, the Austrian Emperor in Vienna.
They found their way to the hands of the daughter then her niece and adopted daughter following her death, before finally coming into the hands of Bourbon-Parma family.
The jewels have not been seen for some 200 years, until early this month when it was announced by Sotheby’s that the royal jewels will be on auction in Geneva in November. Called the ‘Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family’, the jewels will go under hammer on 12 November, 2018, with pieces that span centuries of European history, from the reign of Louis XVI to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the pieces that will be on auction:
From Queen Marie Antoinette of France, exceptional and historic natural pearl and diamond pendant, 18th century, estimated CHF995,000 - 1,900,000
Diamond parure, estimated CHF300,000 - 500,000
Diamond pendant/brooch, circa 1870, estimated CHF25,000 - 35,000
Sapphire and diamond brooch, weighing 30.70 carats, estimated CHF150,000 - 250,000
Fancy orangey pink diamond ring weighing 2.44 carats, circa 1810, estimated CHF120,000 - 180,000
From Marie Therese of Savoy, Duchess of Parma (1803-1879), pair of diamond earrings, 19th century, estimated CHF150,000 - 250,000
Ruby and diamond brooch/hair ornament, circa 1905, gift from Archduke Friedrich of Austria, estimated CHF200,000 - 300,000
Natural pearl and diamond necklace, estimated CHF200,000 - 300,000
Pair of natural pearl and diamond pendants, 19th century, estimated CHF30,000 - 50,000
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(Source and photos: Sotheby’s)