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Marie Antoinette’s diamonds up for sale

By Yann Caradec from Paris, France - Marie-Antoinette en grand habit de cour - 1778 - Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Diamonds once worn by Marie Antoinette are going up for auction later this year.

Two diamond bracelets belonging to the ill fated queen are set to go under the hammer in Geneva in November.

The gems form part of the collection that Marie Antoinette had sent from France to her family in Austria as the Revolution took hold. They are still in their original box and have handwritten notes showing their provenance.

The bracelets contain a total of 112 stones of one to 4.5 carats, set in gold and silver. The gems are arranged in three rows on each bracelet and the individual pieces can be joined to form a necklace.

Marie Antoinette bought the jewels in 1776 from the Parisian court jeweller, Boehmer et Bassenge, paying 250,000 livres for the pieces which, even at the time, was a considerable sum of money.

Following the Revolution and her execution, the bracelets eventually passed to her daughter, Marie-Therese. She had no children and bequeathed the jewels ended up with the family of the Duke of Parma.

Now they will find a new home as they form part of the ‘Magnificent Jewels’ Auction run by Christie’s on November 9th in Geneva. The bracelets have an estimate of between 2 and 4 million US dollars but could well reach a much higher price. Other items belonging to Marie Antoinette have previously outstripped all estimates when they have gone under the hammer.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.