Diamond Bracelets Belonging to Marie-Antoinette to Be Auctioned – WWD

CROWN JEWELS: Diamonds could also be a woman’s greatest buddy, however they proved to be the downfall of 1 queen Marie-Antoinette.

A pair of diamond bracelets belonging to France‘s final queen, underneath the headline “Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Diamonds,” would be the spotlight and opening lot on the “Magnificent Jewels” public sale organized by Christie’s on Nov. 9 in Geneva.

Totaling 112 old-cut stones, starting from one to 4.5 carats every, set in gold and silver, the bracelets are estimated to weigh between 140 and 170 carats. They’re nonetheless of their authentic field, which carry handwritten labels and stock references by the queen’s descendants.

Diamonds had been a selected foible for Marie-Antoinette, a incontrovertible fact that led to the “Affair of the Diamond Necklace,” a scandal that contributed to the French Revolution and downfall of its monarchy by cementing her already-damaged popularity as an extravagant and wasteful queen.

However whereas her style for jewelry is well-documented, few items survived by way of time.

“The million-dollar query is what number of of Marie-Antoinette’s jewels [still] exist,” mentioned Marie-Cécile Cisamolo, jewelry specialist for Christie’s. “These bracelets are very uncommon by the truth that their provenance might be traced again to the stock [of the chest sent by Marie-Antoinette]. Others could be floating round however none that may be traced so exactly,” because of historic data and household inventories saved by her descendants, together with a 1907 {photograph}.

Bought in 1776 from Parisian courtroom jewelers Boehmer et Bassenge for 250,000 livres a queen’s ransom even on the time paid partly in gems and partly in funds obtained from Louis XVI as attested within the king’s private papers, the bracelets had been despatched away for safekeeping to a former ambassador of the Austrian Empire, Marie-Antoinette’s beginning nation.

Gros Antoine-Jean, Baron (1771-1835). Versailles, châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. MV6372.

Madame Royale, Marie-Antoinette’s surviving daughter Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France, carrying the bracelets in an 1816 portrait by French painter Antoine-Jean Gros.
Christophe Fouin / RMN-GP / Courtesy of Christie’s

They seem in a listing ordered by her nephew Emperor Francis II of Austria after the queen’s 1793 execution as “merchandise no.6 — a pair of bracelets the place three diamonds, with the most important set within the center, kind two barrettes; the 2 barrettes function clasps, every comprising 4 diamonds and 96 collet-set diamonds.”

They had been then handed to Madame Royale, Marie-Antoinette’s surviving daughter Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France, who wore them in an 1816 portrait. After she died childless in 1851, the bracelets had been handed on to her nieces and nephews, then to the household of the Duke of Parma.

Whereas the bracelets have been saved within the configuration initially ordered by Marie-Antoinette, Cisamolo defined that they had been offered as “Marie-Antoinette’s diamonds,” resulting from the truth that Madame Royale, who was not as petite as her mom, had them lengthened by including six diamonds on every bracelet and one extra gem on the clasp.

The bracelets are estimated to achieve between $2 million and $4 million, however earlier gadgets belonging to France’s tragic final queen are likely to go a lot increased. A pearl auctioned in November 2018 at Sotheby’s reached $36 million, from an estimate of $2 million, whereas a shoe bought for 43,750 euros, over 4 instances the preliminary estimate final yr.

“Having [them] in hand is like crossing into the previous,” Cisamolo mentioned, including that such gadgets had been obtained with emotion, reverence and maybe a contact of apprehension resulting from their historic nature and connection to a darkish time of France’s historical past.

For extra, see:

Marie-Antoinette’s Versailles Retreat Reopens

Marie-Antoinette’s Shoe Goes Under the Hammer

How Marie-Antoinette’s Tiny Feet Inspired an Entire Exhibition

https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/marie-antoinette-diamond-bracelets-auction-christies-1234912244/ | Diamond Bracelets Belonging to Marie-Antoinette to Be Auctioned – WWD


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