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Marie Antoinette’s diamond bracelets sell for more than £6 million at auction

Written by on 10/11/2021

A pair of diamond bracelets that belonged to Queen of France Marie Antoinette have sold at auction for $8.18 million (£6.03 million).

The final price is several times the pre-sale estimate of between $2 million (£1.46 million) and $4 million (£2.92 million).

A blue velvet box bearing the former Queen’s name holds the double bracelets, which are composed of three strings of diamonds each – 112 of the gems in total – and a large barrette clasp. Each weighs 97grams and includes silver and gold.

The successful buyer bid by telephone and has not been identified
Image: The successful buyer bid by telephone and has not been identified

Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s international director of jewellery who conducted the auction, told the Geneva saleroom that the bracelets had stayed in the family for almost 200 years.

The successful buyer bid by telephone and has not been identified.

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France from 1774 until 1793 when she was guillotined after being found guilty of crimes against the state.

She sent a letter from prison in Tuileries in Paris saying that a wooden chest with jewels would be sent for safekeeping.

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Her surviving daughter Marie Therese, Madame Royale, received the jewels on her arrival in Austria, the British auction house said, and they had been kept within royal lineage until now.

A staff holds a blue velvet case containing a pair of diamond bracelets, with approximately 140 to 150 carats and owned by Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, in silver and yellow gold, circa 1776, during a preview at Christie's before their auction sale in Geneva, Switzerland, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Image: A blue velvet case contains the pair of diamond bracelets
A staff diplays a pair of diamond bracelets, with approximately 140 to 150 carats and owned by Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, in silver and yellow gold, circa 1776, during a preview at Christie's before their auction sale in Geneva, Switzerland, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Image: Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French revolution

In a 1785 portrait by Adolf Ulrich Wertmuller, which is now on show at the National Museum in Stockholm, Marie Antoinette is depicted wearing the bracelets.

In the same auction, an art deco ruby and diamond bracelet, ordered by the Duke of Windsor from Cartier, and given to his wife Wallis Simpson on their first wedding anniversary failed to find a new owner.

The pre-sale estimate for the Duchess of Windsor bracelet was between 1 million (£809,500) and 2 million Swiss Francs (£1.6 million).

This artwork is by an unknown artist depicting Marie Antoinette as she is taken to the guillotine at the height of the French Revolution October 16, 1793
Image: This artwork is by an unknown artist depicting Marie Antoinette as she is taken to the guillotine at the height of the French Revolution October 16, 1793

On Wednesday, as part of regular Geneva jewellery auctions, rival house Sotheby’s is set to put under the hammer a 26.8-carat oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds, and matching ear clips that once belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia and were whisked out of Russia during the country’s 1917 revolution.

And on Thursday, Sotheby’s will auction a pair of high-top Nike sneakers from the late Kobe Bryant, worn during his 2004 victory over the LA clippers.

 Sky News

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