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Jewellery owned by Marie Antoinette is set to hit the auction block later this year. Image courtesy: Sotheby's
Jewellery owned by Marie Antoinette is set to hit the auction block later this year. Image courtesy: Sotheby's

Let them eat pearls - royal jewellery for sale

Jewellery once owned by the famous Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, will be up for auction through Sotheby’s in November.

Entitled Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family, the auction will span centuries of European history, including the reign of King Louis XVI and the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Sotheby’s considers the collection owned by Marie Antoinette to be one of the “most important jewellery collections to ever appear on the market”.

“Each and every jewel is absolutely imbued with history. Never before seen in public, this extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years,” Sotheby’s deputy chairman Daniela Mascetti stated.

“The precious gems they are adorned with and the exceptional craftsmanship they display are stunning in their own right.”

Marie Antoinette’s natural pearl and diamond pendant is one notable piece, expected to fetch between US$1 - $2 million (AU$1.3  - $2.7m). Famously fond of pearls, her multi-strand 331 pearl necklace and natural pearl drop earrings are also on offer.

It will be the second time Antoinette's jewels have graced a Sotheby’s auction in 2018. The auction house sold the French Royal’s 6-carat blue diamond for US$6.7 million (AU$9m) back in May.

Many of Antoinette's jewels have not been viewed since her reign and were shipped by the royal family to Brussels during political upheaval of the French Revolution.

Other jewels in the 100 lots for sale belonged to generations of the Bourbon-Parma family and include pieces once owned by Kings of France, Spain, Austria and various other European reigning dignitaries spanning more than 200 years.

additional items for sale

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