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.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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:
About The Author
Chloe Foussianes
View Other Articles From Chloe Foussianes
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
The College Board hopes to measure students' "resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less."
 
Share
The Queen made a glorious appearance in bright pink.
 
Share
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the children to see the garden Kate designed at the Chelsea Flower Show.
 
Share
T&C’s experts weigh in on the women of Westeros and their not-so-subtle accessories.
 
Share
The true legacy of Nick Joaquin lies not in the volume or richness or brilliance of his works, but in the optimism in the Filipino.
 
Share
The things we hold dearest in the Truly Rich World are now taking a backseat to softer values such as mindfulness, flexibility, passion, inner peace, and rest.
 
Share
Only 15 cities account for over 30 percent of the world's billionaire population.
 
Share
During the 17th to 19th centuries, the Chinese survived a ruthless persecution by the Spaniards, and still emerged as crucial economic assets in the Philippines.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US