On Wednesday, Nov. 3, Christie’s Auction announced that Marie Antoinette’s diamond bracelets and a ruby and diamond bangle that belonged to the Duchess of Windsor will be auctioned in Geneva on Nov. 9.
The bracelets have a pre-sale estimate of up to $4.38 million and are now owned by a European royal family. The Art Deco ruby and diamond bangle is projected to fetch between $1.10 million and $2.19 million.
The twin bracelets, each consisting of three strings of diamonds and a massive barrette clasp, a total of 112 diamonds, are kept in a blue velvet box labeled “bracelets of Queen Marie Antoinette.”
According to Christie’s, each bracelet weighs 3.42 ounces and is made up of “old-cut” diamonds, silver, and gold.
The auction house said that the wife of King Louis XVI, whose life was taken via guillotine, was reported to have meticulously covered her diamonds in cotton to protect them from France’s revolutionary.
“Despite Marie Antoinette’s capture in the French Revolution and her unfortunate death in 1793, the bracelets survived and were passed on to her daughter, Madame Royale, and then the Duchess of Parma,” said the head of Christie’s jewelry department Max Fawcett.
“To find jewels with over 200 years of French royal history is truly something that collectors and passionate jewellery people from all over the world will be keeping an eye on,” Fawcett added, according to Reuters.
The Duke of Windsor bought an Art Deco ruby and diamond bangle from Cartier. He then offered it to his American spouse on their first wedding anniversary in the south of France. He surrendered his crown to marry the Duchess.
In 1987, the Duchess’s designer jewelry collection was auctioned for the first time, at a sale held along Lake Geneva, where bidding skyrocketed, significantly above pre-sale projections.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 10, rival Sotheby’s in Geneva will auction Russian royal treasures smuggled out of the nation during the 1917 revolution, along with unique colored diamonds.
A couple of “perfectly matched” earrings, 25.8-carat diamonds for each, projected to bring up to $5.5 million, is one of the pieces Sotheby’s expects to display on auction day, as USA TODAY reported.