Christie’s will offer The Marie Antoinette Diamonds as lot 1 of its live Magnificent Jewels Auction to be held in Geneva on 9th November 2021. Presented in their current form, the 112 diamonds, originally belonging to Queen Marie-Antoinette of France (1755-1793), are set as a historic pair of bracelets (estimated $2,000,000-4,000,000).
“Over the past 255 years Christie’s have offered many historic jewels from royal houses around the world. It is a privilege to be able to offer these exceptional and unique bracelets for sale at Christie’s where they will attract bidding from collectors globally. As seen in recent Geneva sales, the market for jewels of noble provenance continues to perform extremely well,” said François Curiel, Chairman Christie’s Luxury.
In 1776 Marie Antoinette had been Queen of France for two years and was already recognised as the queen of elegance and style. She could not resist jewellery – especially diamonds. In the spring of 1776, she bought these two diamond bracelets for 250,000 livres, a huge sum at the time. According to Count Mercy-Argenteau, Austria’s Ambassador to France, they were paid partly in gemstones from the Queen’s collection and partly with funds the Queen received from King Louis XVI.
Recent discoveries by jewellery historian Vincent Meylan shows that in February 1777, in the personal papers of King Louis XVI, it is stated: ‘to the Queen: down payment of 29,000 livres for the diamond bracelets she bought from Boehmer’.