What Is The Most Expensive Pearl Neckace Ever Sold?

What Is The Most Expensive Pearl Neckace Ever Sold?

photo courtesy of Sothebys Auction House

Pearls are most seductive and there are many reasons for a pearl necklace to be sold for a mouth watering amount. As well as the beauty of a piece, most often it will have something to do with who owned it previously. 

You may have heard of the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). She had fabulous collections of jewels that was worth many million of livres. She attempted to flee Versailles during the French revolution with some of her pieces, but most of her collection was later smuggled out to Belgium and Vienna.

The story is that she had shipments of her jewels taken out of France with the ambassador to France, the Compte de Mercy Argenteau. They were delivered to the Queen's sister, Archduchess Marie Christine, who was the governor of Brussels. Marie passed them on to  her cousin, Emperor Franz II of Vienna. 

The Queen and her family were captured before they could escape and executed. One daughter escaped, Marie Therese de France, known as Madame Royale. Miraculously, she was allowed to live with her cousin Emperor Franz II.

Madame Royale inherited her mother's collection and it has remained in the Bourbon family for 200 years.

This beautiful natural pearl and diamond pendant was auctioned off by the famous auction house, Sothebys in 2018. The natural baroque pearl measures 15.9 X 18.35 X 25.85. The bailis shaped like a bow with a large oval diamond in the center. The original estimate from Sothebys jewelry department was between $1,000,000 and $1,900,000. The provenance of Marie Antoinette and  the succession i. the Bourbon family created a frenzy of bidding, ending in the purchase price of about $36,500,000. That obliterated all previous records and made it the most expensive pearl necklace ever sold.

This record is as of 2023. We'll see what happens in the future.

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