Sotheby’s will offer historic jewels from the royal Bourbon-Parma family at its Geneva sale in November, led by pieces that belonged to Marie Antoinette.
“It is one of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to appear on the market,” Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby’s deputy chairman of jewelry for Europe, said Wednesday. The collection has not been seen in public for 200 years, the auction house added.
In 1791, while preparing her family’s escape from France, Marie Antoinette wrapped her jewelry and shipped it to Brussels, which was under the rule of her sister Archduchess Marie-Christine, according to accounts from her lady-in-waiting. After it reached the Belgian city, it was then sent to Vienna to Marie Antoinette’s nephew, the emperor of Austria.
The jewels in her collection include a diamond pendant and natural pearl necklace, estimated at $1 million to $2 million; a pearl necklace containing 331 natural pearls, with a presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000; and a pair of natural pearl earrings, valued at $30,000 to $50,000.
Also going under the hammer is a diamond tiara with a foliate scroll design, given by Emperor Franz Joseph to his great-niece, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, upon her wedding to Elias of Bourbon, duke of Parma, in 1902. The piece, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000, was created by Viennese jeweler Köchert.
The auction will feature several other jewels from the archduchess’s collection, including a diamond bow brooch containing a 6.89-carat Burmese ruby, which carries a presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. Other lots include a diamond ring set with a 2.44-carat, fancy orangey-pink diamond. The archduchess received both the brooch and the ring from her father to mark the births of her sons.
Highlights from the collection will go on tour beginning in Milan on June 27, Munich on September 18 and Cologne on September 21. They will also appear in London, New York, Hong Kong and Geneva before the November 12 auction in Geneva.