Tuesday , June 22 2021

Queen Marie-Antoinette's jewelry was sold at auction – drip-shaped gem went for $ 36 million | Society

The jewelry has been in the family's possession for over 200 years and was sold by Queen Marie-Antoinette's descendants. She should have already sent a piece of her jewelry to her relatives before she was executed during the French Revolution.

When it comes to jewelry that has a cultural historical value, you can not only look at the material value of jewelry, "says Nina Westerlund, a specialist in jewels at the Bukowskis auction house in Helsinki.

– The Provenance, that is, the story, is what costs here too. The jewel has been owned and carried by Marie-Antoinette, it has royal provenance, says Westerlund.

The jewelery was sold much more than the exclamation award, for example, the drop-shaped pearl was sold for over 36 million dollars (about 32 million) at Sotheby's auction in Geneva on Wednesday. The asking price was between one and two million dollars.

A woman stands in front of a brick wall.

Nina Westerlund is a specialist at the Bukowskis auction house.
A woman stands in front of a brick wall.
Picture: Yle / Camilla Berghäll
Bukowskis, nina westerlund

The French queen Marie-Antoinette was executed during the French Revolution. She should have already sent at least some of her jewelry to her relatives before she was executed. The jewelry sold on Wednesday has been in the descendants' ownership for 200 years.

"It's fascinating to read how they have been inherited from person to person and to look at the quality of the jewelry, see how the diamonds are cut and you see how the diamonds are set and how you worked at that time," Westerlund says.

You can read about the history of jewelry (in English) at the auction house Sotheby's website.

The craft was different 200 years ago

How to do jewelry in the 1700's differs very much from how to work today, says Westerlund. The diamonds are not sanded according to exact angles and facets, so they all have a different size and are quite asymmetrical.

"When looking at the diamond today, you should rate it quite low in terms of quality, especially in terms of grinding. But then the whole thing was important, the jewelry has a huge symmetry and balance when looking at the whole, says Westerlund.

According to Westerlund, the diamonds in the jewelry come mainly from India, because from there you got diamonds at that time.

"The beads are all natural pearls, that is, they are generally no longer because they are protected," Westerlund says.

A stand with jewelry in.

The collection sold at auction also included other jewelry than Marie-Antoinette's jewelry.
A stand with jewelry in.
Jewels, Marie Antoinette, Auction, Sotheby's

The multi-row pearl necklace has many pearls that are similar to size and shape, which fascinates Westerlund.

– Finding natural pearls in the size of almost the same shape and quite the same size is fascinating. If one thinks that they have actually looked after them one by one, and then found many similarities, Westerlund says.

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