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Marie Antoinette Diamonds Shatter Estimate

Nov 10, 2021 6:07 AM   By Rapaport News
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Two diamond bracelets belonging to Marie Antoinette more than doubled their high estimate at a recent Christie’s auction in Geneva.

The set, made by Boehmer in 1776 and passed down through Marie Antoinette’s family for 250 years, fetched $8.2 million at Tuesday’s Magnificent Jewels sale, Christie’s said. That figure is the second-highest price for a jewel owned by the French queen and the highest price ever garnered for one of her diamond pieces. In 2018, Sotheby’s sold a natural-pearl and diamond pendant belonging to Marie Antoinette for $36.2 million against its $2 million high estimate.

In total, the November 9 auction raked in $59 million, with 11 lots fetching more than $1 million.

Other notable items sold at the auction include a pear brilliant-cut, 55.50-carat, D-color, potentially internally flawless diamond, which went for $5.3 million, or $95,700 per carat, at the high end of its estimate. A cushion-shaped Burmese ruby and diamond brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels brought in $4.6 million at the auction, smashing its CHF 600,000 ($656,756) upper valuation.

An oval brilliant-cut, 43.19-carat, D-color, internally flawless diamond ring garnered $3.6 million, representing $83,000 per carat — within estimates. A rectangular-cut, 42.98-carat, fancy-vivid-yellow diamond fetched $3.1 million, in the middle of its presale valuation, while a fancy-light-pink and colorless diamond brooch by Harry Winston hammered for $2.3 million, just over its lower estimate.

However, a ring featuring a heart modified brilliant-cut, 6.75-carat, fancy-vivid-purple-pink, SI1-clarity diamond failed to find a buyer. The piece was estimated to bring in up to $10.9 million at the auction. A ruby bangle by Cartier, the first anniversary gift Wallis SImpson, the Duchess of Windsor, received from her husband, also remained unsold. That piece had a high valuation of $2.2 million. 

In total, Christie’s sold 93% of items on offer, with bidders hailing from 32 countries.

“A very dynamic saleroom, coupled with strong online and telephone bids from around the world, resulted in lively bidding and a very high sell-through rate,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry at Christie’s. “Marie Antoinette’s diamonds captured the world’s attention and achieved a fitting result for such a magnificent royal jewel.”

Image: The Marie Antoinette diamond bracelets. (Christie’s)
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Tags: Boehmer, Christie’s, diamonds, Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction, Harry Winston, Marie Antoinette, Rahul Kadakia, Rapaport News, Van Cleef & Arpels
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