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 Post subject: Marie Antoinette’s Jewels
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:37 pm 
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Russell Shor for GIA wrote:
Marie Antoinette’s Jewels: ‘How Can You Put a Price on Such History?
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As the French Revolution engulfed the nation in 1791, the uneasy arrangement that allowed French King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette to remain on the throne began to unravel, and the royal family prepared to flee into exile.

In March, Marie Antoinette entrusted her favorite jewels to a loyal retainer, Count Mercy Argentau, who packed them into a wooden chest and spirited them to Brussels for safe keeping. By the end of June, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and her jewels – natural pearls and diamonds – were on a tortuous journey from Brussels to Austria and finally Parma in northern Italy where they would remain for over two centuries. Until 2018.

Ten of those pieces belonging to the French queen, along with 90 other jewels from the Bourbon-Parma royal family, brought astounding prices at Sotheby’s Nov. 14 Geneva auction. Valued at $7 million before the sale, the extraordinary history and provenance of the collection sent bids soaring to a total of $53 million.

Daniela Mascetti, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Europe and senior international specialist, said it was one of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to appear in the market. “Every piece is imbued with history,” she said. “They offer captivating insight into the lives of their owners going back hundreds of years.”

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