Marie Antoinette's pearls expected to fetch £400,000
Friday 28 September 2007
Sumptuous pearls which graced the neck of Marie Antoinette are to go on sale in London later this year with an expected asking price of £400,000.
The jewels were smuggled out of revolutionary France by Lady Elizabeth, the Countess of Sutherland, wife of the British ambassador and an ally of the wildly extravagant Queen Consort. Lady Elizabeth made a pact to return them to her friend once she had escaped from imprisonment.
But the wife of Louis XVI was never to secure her freedom and met her highly public end in front of a baying mob in the centre of Paris in 1793, her guillotined head paraded before the crowd as a proof of the fall of the hated monarchy.
Fifty years later on the other side of the Channel, 21 of the drop-shaped natural pearls were mounted on to a necklace for the wedding of Lady Elizabeth's grandson, George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower and Ann Hay McKenzie.
Raymond Sancroft-Baker, senior director of Christie's Jewellery, London, said: "It is exceptionally rare to be able to offer jewels that belonged to Marie Antoinette and which are completely fresh to the market.
"The story behind the pearls and their integral incorporation into this necklace for the Sutherland-Leveson-Gower family wedding in 1849 adds to its fascinating history."
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...