18 October 2018

Bourbon-Parma Jewels Glitter in New York

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The magnificent jewelry collection of the Bourbon-Parma family, which will be auctioned at Sotheby's in Geneva in a few weeks, has made it to America. Selected pieces are currently on display at the auction house in New York, and, as you may have expected, the links to Marie Antoinette are being very heavily advertised.




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We still don't have complete catalogue or lot information for the sale, but we know that some of the jewels included do appear to have genuinely been owned by Marie Antoinette. Her picture was displayed prominently alongside the jewels when they were photographed by the press on Friday. You can read details on ten of the lots now at the Sotheby's website.


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Two pearl necklaces from the sale were among the pieces displayed. The necklace on the left, a late nineteenth-century piece with an elaborate diamond clasp, is one of the pieces with available lot information. The necklace on the right is described as a "natural pearl and diamond necklace" in the label provided during this exhibition. Both necklaces are said to include pearls that belonged to Marie Antoinette and were later restrung by members of the Bourbon-Parma family.


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This exceptional eighteenth-century diamond and pearl pendant is directly said to have come from Marie Antoinette in the provided lot notes.


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Sotheby's states that the incredible baroque pearl pendant has been tested and is a natural, saltwater pearl.


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Lot notes are not yet available for this magnificent diamond bow brooch.


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The label from the exhibition, however, simply describes it as a "diamond brooch" made in the "second half of [the] 18th century." The piece's auction estimate is set at $50,000-80,000 USD. The piece was displayed beside a simpler diamond bow brooch (visible in the last photograph in this post). That brooch, which dates to the late 19th century, has an auction estimate of $95,000-140,000 USD.


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The necklace, earrings, and brooch in this photograph make up the "superb diamond parure" being auctioned in November. We do have lot notes for this one. The necklace was made using diamonds previously set on a sword that belonged to Prince Charles Ferdinand d’Artois, Duke de Berry (1778-1820).

Five of the diamonds set in the earrings and brooch (according to the lot notes, "the ones on the earrings, the central diamond on the brooch and the two remaining pendants on the brooch") were once included in an "important tiara" that belonged to Marie Antoinette's daughter, the Duchess of Angoulême. The lot notes state that the silver and gold frame from that tiara was auctioned at Sotheby's as Lot 82 from the Dimitri Mavrommatis Collection; the lot also included a portrait of the Duchess wearing the tiara.

In the foreground of this photograph, you'll see two rings. The label from this exhibition describes them as "two diamond and woven hair rings," accompanied by an additional "diamond and woven hair jewel," dating to the "18th century and early 19th century." The trio of pieces has an auction estimate of $20,000-50,000 USD.


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We don't yet have lot notes for the outstanding fleur-de-lis tiara included in the exhibition, but thanks to the Instagram account of jewelry historian Vincent Meylan, we know a little bit about it. The tiara was made in 1912 for Archduchess Maria of Austria, wife of Prince Elias, Duke of Parma. Meylan notes that the three large fleur-de-lis ornaments can be detached and worn as brooches. Visit his Instagram for more!


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You can read more about the jewels of the upcoming auction in our two previous posts: an overview of the sale, and a look at some of the pieces sparkling in motion!