Marie Antoniette's jewellery on display at Sothebys
Never in the course of history has the destiny of a queen been so closely associated with jewels than that of Marie Antoinette. Her great love of pearls and diamonds is well-known and a number of historians have cited Napoleon’s view, that the so-called “affair of the diamond necklace” – a scandal which tarnished the queen’s reputation in 1785 – was one of the causes of the French Revolution.
Renowned for her extravagance and the splendour and lavishness of her court, Marie-Antoinette is very often portrayed wearing pearls. A symbol of wealth and status since time immemorial because of their great beauty and rarity, natural pearls, were prized by the royal families of Europe in the 18th century.
Some of her impressive jewels will be auctioned this autumn at Sotheby’s and, prior to the auction a few of the pieces will be brought to Dubai. Among the star lots of the collection is a stunning diamond pendant, supporting a natural pearl of exceptional size (26 mm x 18 mm) (est. $1-2 million, pictured above). Testament to the splendour and opulence of the French court are also a pair of natural pearl drops (est. $30,000 – 50,000) and a fabulous necklace featuring 119 natural pearls (est. $200,000-300,000).
The Dubai exhibition is from the October 7 - 12, and it will also include 20th Century Arab and Iranian Art, Indian Art, Islamic Works of Art and Watches.