The pearls that cost Marie Antoinette her reputation – and her life: Jewellery that fuelled revolutionaries' hatred of French royals will be auctioned for $5million

Mail Online | 12/31/1969 | George Martin For Mailonline
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Marie Antoinette's personal collection of pearls is set to go under the hammer in a landmark jewellery sale.

The remarkable items, which were smuggled out of France during the Revolution, are being offered for sale as part of a $5million catalogue of royal jewels being put up for auction at Sotheby's, Geneva, later this year.

Auction - House - Queen - Pearls - Display

According to the auction house, the Queen's pearls have not been on public display for the last 200 years and have been kept in immaculate condition by a private owner.

Among the collection is a diamond pendant supporting 'a pearl of exceptional size', which is estimated at $1-2million.

Items - Note - Necklace - Pearls

Other items of note include a spectacular necklace featuring 300 pearls which is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.

Marie Antoinette was both famed and hated for her enormous private collection of jewellery.

Fact - Necklace - Scandal - Execution - Hands

In fact, one particular necklace left her tangled in a scandal which led to her eventual execution at the hands of revolutionaries.

The Queen caused uproar after the 1785 incident, known as the 'Affair of the Diamond Necklace', when she was accused of trying to defraud the royal jewellers to obtain a particularly opulent necklace.

Jewelers - Boehmer - Bassenge - Necklace - Today

Parisian jewelers Boehmer and Bassenge had created the 2million livre necklace ($14million in today's money) for Marie Antoinette's predecessor Madame du Barry - the partner of Louis XV.

But the piece took several years to make and by the time it was completed the king had died of smallpox and the jewellers...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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