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 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...