Auctions

Marie Antoinette’s Pearl and Diamond Pendant Sells for $36M

AuctionsNov 15, 2018

Marie Antoinette’s Pearl and Diamond Pendant Sells for $36M

It was part of Sotheby’s “Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family” jewelry auction, a white-glove sale that exceeded expectations.

20180622_SothebysBourbonParma-header.jpg
This diamond and pearl pendant that once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette sold for $36.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva Wednesday, setting a world auction record for a natural pearl.

Geneva—Not surprisingly, the recent auction of jewelry and other items from the collection of the Bourbon-Parma family proved to be quite a hit.

“Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family,” held Wednesday at Sotheby’s Geneva, featured lots once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette, King Charles X of France, the archdukes of Austria and the dukes of Parma.

The sale totaled $53.1 million, which was more than seven times the pre-sale high estimate of $7 million and a record for any sale of royal jewels, according to Sotheby’s. It topped the $50.3 million garnered when Sotheby’s sold Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry in 1987.

The 100-lot jewelry auction was also a white-glove sale, meaning not a single lot went unsold.

Many, in fact, blew away their pre-sale estimates, including the highlight: Marie Antoinette’s pearl and diamond pendant.

The piece went for $36.2 million, smashing its pre-sale estimate of $1-$2 million and setting a new auction record for a natural pearl.

The pendant was one of 10 pieces in the sale that once belonged to Marie Antoinette.

Armed with a fascinating backstory, the French queen’s jewels went for a combined $42.7 million, about 15 times the highest pre-sale estimate of $2.9 million.

Before she was taken into captivity, Marie Antoinette wrapped her pearls, diamonds and rubies in cotton, placed them in a wooden chest and sent them to Brussels.

From there, they were taken to Vienna to go into the safekeeping of her nephew, the Austrian Emperor, and were given to Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Madame Royale, following her release in 1795.

The jewels were then passed on to the Bourbon-Parma family, where they remained for the next two centuries.

Other highlights from the queen’s jewelry collection included the three-strand necklace strung with pearls from her personal collection seen below, which Sotheby’s said saw “intense bidding” before going for $2.3 million (pre-sale estimate was $200,000 to $300,000).




There also was a diamond brooch with a yellow diamond that garnered $2.1 million, and a monogrammed diamond ring bearing the initials “MA” and containing a lock of her hair that sold for more than 50 times its pre-sale estimate when it garnered $443,786 Wednesday.

The collection also included jewels belonging to later generations of the Bourbon-Parma family with connections to the royal families of France, Italy, Spain and Austria.

Highlights included a diamond tiara made by Austrian jeweler Hübner for Maria Anna of Austria in 1912 that went for

$967,990, almost twice its pre-sale high estimate of $550,000.




Jeweled badges of the Order of the Holy Spirit and the Order of the Golden Fleece, both owned by the Duke of Angoulême and the latter of which is seen below, sold for $1.6 million and $1.7 million, respectively.




Meanwhile, a diamond parure set with old-cut diamonds with a detachable pendant made for Louise of France and including five diamonds that belonged to Marie Antoinette’s daughter sold for $848,853, and a pair of diamond girandole earrings once belonging to the Duchess of Parma sold for almost three times their highest pre-sale estimate, garnering $729,715.

There also was a ring set with a 2.44-carat fancy orangey-pink diamond that sold for $574,837.

For a full list of results, visit Sothebys.com.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Tiffany Venetian glass bead ear clips
TrendsMay 23, 2024
State of Jewelry Design: 3 Themes That Will Shape the Next 5 Years

Color, storytelling, and the use of nonconventional materials are the signatures of today’s most innovative and influential designers.

Inoveo Platinum
MajorsMay 23, 2024
PGI to Debut New Platinum Alloy in Las Vegas

Inoveo Platinum will be distributed exclusively by Stuller in the U.S.

Alan Hart Headshot
MajorsMay 23, 2024
Gem-A CEO Alan Hart Resigns

He is stepping down in August after eight years as CEO.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Rose cut arch cabochons Columbia Gem House
SourcingMay 22, 2024
State of Colored Stones: Why the Market Is More Colorful Than Ever

As prices of “The Big Three” skyrocket, supply dwindles, and focus on sustainability grows, an age of open-mindedness is dawning.

Weekly QuizMay 23, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these seven questions.
Take the Quiz
Pandora Essence jewelry
CollectionsMay 22, 2024
Pandora’s New Jewelry Collection Reimagines the Essentials

The “Pandora Essence” collection brings a contemporary and sculptural feel to staples like gold hoops and pearl necklaces.

Instore show 2024
Events & AwardsMay 22, 2024
InStore ‘Cram Day’ To Focus on Lab-Grown Diamond Education

The limited-seating learning event precedes its second annual trade show, which starts Aug. 11.

Royal Chain gold chains
Brought to you by
Record Gold Prices Have Consumers Undeterred. Here’s Why.

Despite the rising prices, consumers continue to seek out the precious metal.

Swarovski New York City flagship
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
State of Retail: 4 Retail Design Trends for 2024

From lighter color palettes to the integration of AR, experts offer inspiration for jewelers in need of an aesthetic refresh.

Dame Shirley Bassey’s
AuctionsMay 21, 2024
Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

Sotheby’s will auction jewelry belonging to the “Diamonds Are Forever” singer in Paris this October.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsMay 21, 2024
Successful Vendor Relationships: A Win-Win Approach

Sherry Smith shares tips for fostering successful vendor-retailer partnerships, from marketing investment to fast-seller replenishment.

Jennifer Herold, Independent Jewelers Organization vice president
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
Jennifer Herold Promoted to VP at IJO

Herold has been with the organization for 22 years and will continue in her current role of conference director.

Studs pop-up
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Studs Opens Luxury Piercing Pop-Up in NYC

“Fancy Studs” will feature revamped branding and a new lab-grown diamond fine jewelry collection.

Nivoda executive team at table
SourcingMay 20, 2024
2 Business-to-Business Platforms Secure Millions in Funding

Nivoda and Liquid Diamonds both have big plans for the new capital.

Stuller Packaging & Displays 2024-2025 catalog
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Stuller Issues New Packaging & Display Catalog

The 2024-2025 edition features new colors and styles, as well as storytelling elements.

Elephants wading in the Okavango Delta in Botswana
SourcingMay 20, 2024
State of the Diamond Industry: Botswana Beyond Diamonds

From moringa to ecotourism in the Okavango Delta, the country and its leaders are exploring how Botswana can diversify its economy.

Rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingMay 20, 2024
Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

The mining giant also wants to offload its platinum business as part of an overhaul designed to “unlock significant value.”

Buccellati jewelry
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Richemont Appoints Van Cleef & Arpels’ Nicolas Bos as New CEO

The announcement coincided with its full-year results, with growth driven by its jewelry brands.

Watches of Switzerland Mall of America store
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Watches of Switzerland’s Fiscal-Year Sales Flat

Looking ahead, the retailer said it sees “enormous potential” in Roberto Coin’s ability to boost its branded jewelry business.

My Next Question webinar series graphic
Recorded WebinarsMay 17, 2024
Watch: Preparing for Trade Show Success

Jewelry trade show veterans share strategies for engaging buyers, managing your time effectively, and packing the right shoes.

Cartier ring-tailed lemur brooch circa 1991
AuctionsMay 17, 2024
Piece of the Week: Cartier’s Ring-Tailed Lemur

This little guy’s name is Ricky and he just sold for more than $200,000 at Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction.

202.18 carat fancy intense yellow diamond The Yellow Rose
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

Though its website has been down for a week, Christie’s proceeded with its jewelry and watch auctions on May 13-14, bringing in nearly $80 million.

The Allnatt yellow diamond
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Sotheby’s Withdraws 101-Carat Yellow Diamond from Auction

Despite the absence of “The Allnatt,” Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction totaled $34 million, with 90 percent of lots sold.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsMay 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: What the Designer Should’ve Done

Lilian Raji gives advice to designers on how to make the most of great publicity opportunities.

Mothae Diamond Mine Lesotho
SourcingMay 16, 2024
Lucapa to Shed Stake in Lesotho Diamond Mine

The mining company wants to divest its 70 percent holding in the Mothae Diamond Mine in an effort to streamline its portfolio.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsMay 15, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Why Retailers Struggle to Fire Brands

Why do so many jewelers keep lines that are not selling? Peter Smith thinks the answer lies in these two behavioral principles.

The Argyle Phoenix red diamond
AuctionsMay 15, 2024
Red Diamond Breaks Records at Phillips Geneva

The “Argyle Phoenix” sold for more than $4 million at the auction house’s second jewels sale.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy