LONDON – The opulent jewelry collection of France’s most (in)famous queen was presented on Friday at a prestigious London auction house ahead of a much-anticipated November sale.
Among other items, Sotheby’s previewed a rare natural pearl owned by Queen Marie Antoinette which boasts an extraordinary size – 26 by 18 millimeters (1 by 0.7 inches) – on a diamond pendant and is expected to fetch between $1-2 million.
“Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma family, which spans centuries of European history, from the reign of Louis XVI to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, will offer a fascinating insight into the splendor of one of Europe’s most important royal dynasties,” Sotheby’s said on its website.
Marie Antoinette (1755-93) was the last queen of France before losing her head after being convicted of high treason following the era-defining French Revolution that abolished the Ancien Regime of hereditary monarchy and feudalism.
The Bourbon-Parma family are descendants of Louis XIV of France – known as the “Sun King” – and are blood relatives of the largest royal and ducal families in Europe, including the Habsburgs and Bourbons (the latter still hold the Spanish crown to this day).
The French queen’s luxurious and extravagant lifestyle became a symbol of the 18th-century’s decadent absolute monarchies and led to her demise when the French people stripped the Bourbons of their vast riches and introduced them to “Madame Guillotine.”
The Bourbon-Parma family’s royal jewels are set to be auctioned on Nov. 14 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The auction house Sotheby’s said the jewelry collection was one of the most impressive and important to ever come to light.