European Royals

Sothesby’s to auction jewels of Marie Antoinette



A jewellery collection including pieces that one belonged to Marie Antoinette will go on auction in Geneva on the 14th of November.

Described by Sotheby’s as being one of “the most important royal jewellery collections to ever come to auction”, the collection contains stunning pieces that one belonged to Marie Antoinette, and other members of the Bourbon-Parma Dynasty.

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The dynasty was prominent from the reign of Louis XVI to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was once one of Europe’s most influential and important royal families.

The family has ties to the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, and members of the Bourbon-Parma dynasty include Kings of France, Spence, and emperors of Austria.

With over 100 lots, the centrepiece of the auction is ten pieces that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, before she was guillotined during the French revolution.

Queen Marie Antoinette Jewels have not been seen in public for 200 years. Andrew White Correal, the senior director of Jewellery at Sotheby’s describes it as being “the sale of the 21st century. Because how do you top Marie Antoinette?”

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One of the most impressive items in the collection is a natural pearl and diamond pendant which is valued at up to $2m.

A ring containing Marie Antoinette initials and a lock of her hair is valued up to $10,000.

Other impressive items in the dynastic collection are items that belonged to the Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Parma, and King Charles X.

The only reason the jewels did not get lost in the French revolution, is because Marie Antoinette wrapped all of them in cotton, put them in a wooden chest, and sent them first to Brussels, where they were sent on to Marie Antoinette’s home country of Austria.

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In 1792, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and other members of the royal court were arrested. Louis XVI was executed first. Louis XVII, Antoinette’s son, was separated from his mother to be taught revolutionary ideas and turn him against his mother. She was then executed in October of 1793.

Marie-Thérèse, the eldest child of Marie Antoinette, was released in 1795 and later reclaimed the jewels. The jewels were passed on to her niece and adopted daughter, before being left to the last Duke of Parma. Since then, they have been kept in private collections by relatives.