The jewels of the Bourbon-Parma dynasty and Marie Antoinette Queen of France at auction with Sotheby’s ♦ ︎
From the court of Versailles (and subsequent guillotine) to Sotheby’s auction: it is the long journey of the jewels that belonged to Marie Antoinette (necklaces and earrings), the Queen of France executed by Robespierre and partners with her husband, King Louis XVI, during the French Revolution. The jewels will be auctioned on 12 November in Geneva at Sotheby’s, in a sale called Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family. A dynasty which, as they explain to Sotheby’s, has been central to the history of Europe thanks to the interweaving of family ties, from France to Austria, from Spain to Italy.
In total, a hundred batches will be put up for sale, “all coming from the same family, the Borbone-Parma,” Daniela Mascetti, vice president for Sotheby’s High Jewelery in Europe, explained in a preview. “It is one of the most important collections of jewels ever appeared on the market”. It is good to meditate on the words of Daniela Mascetti. First, because it is a world authority on the subject. Secondly, because authority combines authority. Third, because Daniela Mascetti is able to temper the passion with the necessary scrupulosity, especially in cases like these, in which to establish estimates and values is very difficult. “How important is the origin of a jewel compared to its invoice? Difficult to establish it. But it weighs a lot, “explains Sotheby’s expert at gioiellis.com. “Just think of a case like that of the jewels that belonged to Wallis Simpson in the eighties. An estimate of around 5 million at auction has reached 30 million”.
In short, the Sotheby’s auction of 12 November promises sparks. Also because the jewels of noble origin are many and for some Sotheby’s is still at work. In fact, before presenting them at auction, the intricate family path of jewels is the object, as in the detective films, of a detective work by the team of Daniela Mascetti. We are sure, therefore, that the pendant of diamonds with a natural pearl of exceptional dimensions (26 mm x 18 mm), estimated at a starting price of 1-2 million dollars, is placed on the décolleté of Marie Antoinette, as well as the necklace of 119 natural pearls. And that the pair of earrings estimated at 30,000-50,000 dollars was first transported to Belgium along with other jewels to steal from the revolutionaries, then passed to the cousin of Marie Antoinette, the emperor of Austria, who then handed them over to the sister of Queen of France, Maria Teresa, imprisoned and released three years after the Republican government.
Maria Teresa, called Madame Royale, then left part of her jewelry to her niece Luisa di Francia, Duchess of Parma, up to Roberto I, the last duke of Parma. For example, it was intended for Luisa di Francia (1819-1864), nephew of Charles X, king of France, and mother of Robert I, an extraordinary set consisting of 95 diamonds, five of which belonged to Marie Antoinette. Also in the same collection are pieces such as the pin in the shape of a bow in diamonds and Burmese ruby of 6.89 carats and a ring with fancy orange-pink diamond (unusual for the time) given by his father to the Archduchess Maria Anna d ‘ Austria on the occasion of the birth of the child. The sale will also include a diamond tiara offered by Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) to his niece, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (1882-1940) for her marriage in 1902 with Elia di Borbone, Duke of Parma ( 1880-1959), a brooch in yellow gold received by the princess Maria Pia di Borbone-Due Sicilie on the occasion of the marriage of Roberto I, and a pair of earrings “en girandole” in diamonds belonging to the duke of Parma. Difficult to remember an auction with more blue blood.