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 Duchess was used to a certain level of fame as an actress, but royal life has brought a new set of challenges.
 
Share
 
Share
With the demand for luxury goods currently exploding in China, the mogul has now become the third-ever centibillionaire in history.
 
Share
His infamous Upper East Side mansion is just one of the properties in the disgraced financier's vast real estate portfolio, and each of them seems to have a creepy story.
 
Share
The viral app is raising some very important questions on privacy.
 
Share
Through Frances Valentine, the label Kate founded three years ago, her friends have vowed to keep her spirit-and aesthetic-alive.
 
Share
Is this a frou-frou spot? No, it isn’t. Is it worth it? Yes, start easy.
 
Share
The 109-lot auction is expected to fetch a tidy sum, given the stunning items on the block.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US