Sotheby’s Auction House has announced the upcoming sale of one of the most significant noble jewelry collections ever to come up for auction, christened “Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family”, at their Geneva Sale, due to be held on 12th November 2018. According to Sotheby’s the landmark auction will span several centuries of European royal history, beginning from the reign of Louis XVI (1774-1792) the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution, until the collapse in 1918, of the Dual Monarchy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), one of the World’s great powers at that time, ruled by the House of Habsburg, following its defeat in World War I. The auction will no doubt provide fascinating insights into the splendor of two of Europe’s most important royal dynasties, the House of Bourbon-Parma and the House of Habsburg.
Descended from Louis XIV of France, the Holy Roman Emperors and from Pope Paul III, the Bourbon-Parma family is linked by blood to the most important ruling families of Europe – from the Bourbons to the Habsburgs. Members of the lineage include Kings of France and Spain, Emperors of Austria and the Dukes of Parma.
This exceptional ancestry is evidenced in the extraordinary opulence and provenance of the pieces in the collection, led by a breath-taking group of jewels which once belonged to Marie Antoinette, ill-fated Queen of France, which have not been seen in public for 200 years.
Commenting on the upcoming sale Daniela Mascetti, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Jewelry Europe and Senior International Specialist, says, “It is one of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to appear on the market and each and every jewel is absolutely imbued with history. Never before seen in public, this extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years. What is also striking is the inherent beauty of the pieces themselves: the precious gems they are adorned with and the exceptional craftsmanship they display are stunning in their own right.”
According to historians who have traced the provenance, movement and inheritance of the beleaguered Queen Marie Antoitte’s jewelry and how it escaped the turbulent times of the French Revolution, in 1791, while preparing her family’s escape from France, Marie Antoinette wrapped her jewelry and shipped it to Brussels, which was under the rule of her sister Archduchess Marie-Christine, according to accounts from her lady-in-waiting. After the jewelry reached the Belgian city, it was then sent to Vienna to Marie Antoinette’s nephew, the emperor of Austria.
The jewels from Marie Antoinette’s collection include a natural pearl and diamond pendant, estimated at US$1 million to US$2 million; a natural pearl and diamond necklace containing 331 natural pearls, with a presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000; and a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings, valued at $30,000 to $50,000.
Another interesting lot that is due to go under the hammer is a diamond tiara with a foliate scroll design, given by Emperor Franz Joseph to his great-niece, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, upon her wedding to Elias of Bourbon, duke of Parma, in 1902. The piece, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000, was created by Viennese jeweler Köchert.
The auction also features several other jewels from the Archduchess Maria Anna’s collection, including a diamond bow brooch cum hair ornament, containing a 6.89-carat Burmese ruby as centerpiece, a gift from her father Archduke Friedrich of Austria, with a presale estimate of US$ 200,000 to US$ 300,000. Other lots include a diamond ring set with a 2.44-carat, fancy orangy-pink diamond. The archduchess received both the brooch and the ring from her father to mark the births of her sons.
Another outstanding lot in the collection, is a pair of diamond pendant earrings of 19th Century origin that once belonged to Maria Therese of Savoy, Duchess of Parma from 1803 to 1879, with an estimate of US$ 150,000 – 250,000. The pendant earrings is of chandelier design with a circular-cut diamond surmount suspending a scroll motif set with circular-cut diamonds, suspending three pendants, a long pendant in the center carrying two circular-cut diamonds and ending in a pear-shaped diamond; and two shorter pendants on either side, with a single circular-cut diamond and ending in a pear-shaped diamond.
Highlights from the collection will be exhibited on a worldwide tour beginning in Milan on June 27th Munich on September 18th and Cologne on September 21st. The exhibition will also be held in London, New York, Hong Kong and Geneva before the November 12, 2018 auction in Geneva.