Jewelry & Watches

Marie Antoinette's Pearl Pendant Sells for a Record-Breaking $36 Million at Auction

Sotheby's brought a few of the French queen's jewels to the auction block.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES/DAN KITWOOD
Comments

Marie Antoinette may not have made it through the French revolution, but her jewelry sure did. And it has only gotten more valuable over time.

A set of her jewels hit the auction block yesterday in Geneva, courtesy of Sotheby's. The international auction house arranged a collection from Italy's royal Bourbon-Parma line, dating from Louis XVI's reign to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Among the 100 lots—each stunning in its own right—there was one decisive star: Marie Antoinette's natural pearl and diamond pendant. Sotheby's had estimated to sell the item for between one and two million dollars, but a bidding war upped the price tag to a whopping $36 million.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Marie Antoinette's pearl and diamond pendant

The pendant more than tripled the previous world auction record for a pearl, which was held by a necklace that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. Christie's took in $11.8 million for the piece back in 2011.

Less inherently valuable—but perhaps more intimate—was Marie Antoinette's diamond ring, adorned with her initials, and containing a lock of her hair. This, too, far exceeded the $10,000 high-end estimate to rake in a cool $447,000.


An image of Marie Antoinette placed next to her jewelry at Sotheby's Auction House in New York City

All of the French queen's jewels would likely be lost to history, were she not able to smuggle them to her family in Austria before she attempted to flee France. Indeed, in the words of Le Vian CEO Eddie LeVian, "This is about far more than the gems themselves: Marie Antoinette’s jewelry is inextricably linked to the cause of the French Revolution."

They didn't do much to assuage resentment against the monarchy. But they sure do look pretty.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Chloe Foussianes
View Other Articles From Chloe Foussianes
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
The young restaurateur tackles a cuisine closely associated with the family business but sets himself apart by showcasing each of Italy's regional specialties.
 
Share
The painting had spent the last 126 years in the home of a private collector in Europe.
 
Share
Master these pronunciations and you'll never think twice again.
 
Share
San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang remembers his roots and gives back to his hometown.
 
Share
Photographer Douglas Kirkland remembers the shoot fondly: "It was just myself, the camera, and Marilyn."
 
Share
Nonoo is a good friend of Meghan Markle's-and there's a good chance the Duchess will make an appearance at the ceremony.
 
Share
Rachel Green would no doubt approve of these dresses, blazers, and tops.
 
Share
Not only does it inform the cast’s performances, but its stripping down of the play’s setting to its barest elements underscores the universality and timelessness of its message.
 
Share
These are the six pieces you need to cop this season.
 
Share
It turns out that most of these emblematic charmers are jewelry timepieces.
 
Share
The modern property, which is a combination of two units, was designed by famed architect Claudio Silvestrin.
 
Share
The palace staff treated Harriet the monkey to a scone, and sent it home with a new corgi friend.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US