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Marie Antoinette’s diamond bracelets fetch £7m at auction | France

Two diamond bracelets that Marie Antoinette despatched away in a wood chest for safekeeping earlier than she was guillotined throughout the French Revolution, have bought at auction in Geneva for 7.46m Swiss francs (£7.04m).

The sum was a number of instances greater than the pre-sale estimate, amid a rising curiosity in objects of jewelry and clothes belonging to the previous French queen. The customer was bidding by phone and never recognized.

The Austrian-born monarch who arrived in France aged 14 to marry the long run Louis XVI had the diamond bracelets customized made in 1776, two years after she turned queen. Every bracelet consists of three strings of diamonds and a big barrette clasp, totalling 112 diamonds, together with “outdated minimize” stones and silver and gold.

Marie Antoinette was recognized to have fastidiously wrapped her jewels in cotton herself, hoping to maintain them outdoors revolutionary France. She despatched the 2 diamond bracelets in a wood field to a former Austrian ambassador who was in Brussels, with a letter instructing him to maintain them in a protected place.

A 1783 oil painting of Marie Antoinette.
A 1783 oil portray of Marie Antoinette. {Photograph}: Artokoloro/Alamy

Max Fawcett, head of Christie’s jewelry division mentioned earlier than the sale: “Regardless of Marie Antoinette’s seize within the French Revolution and her unlucky dying in 1793, the bracelets survived and had been handed on to her daughter, Madame Royale, after which the Duchess of Parma.”

Marie Antoinette’s surviving daughter, Marie Thérèse obtained the jewels on her arrival in Austria, the auction home added.

The bracelets had been saved inside royal lineage for greater than 200 years, Christie’s mentioned.

“To seek out jewels with over 200 years of French royal historical past is actually one thing that collectors and passionate jewelry individuals from all around the world can be maintaining a tally of,” Fawcett added. “Now we have seen the outcomes earlier than of issues bought by Marie Antoinette, that there actually is not any restrict to how excessive these can go and I’m anticipating fireworks [at the auction].”

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