GENEVA (AP) – A diamond bracelet that once belonged to the French Marie Antoinette and a sapphire and diamond brooch with matching ear clips that once dangled from the great Russian princess, among the jewelry and other collectibles on display at auctions next week to Geneva.
Also under the hammer in the Swiss lakeside town will be Nike high-top sneakers from the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, a Los Angeles Lakers striker who died in a helicopter crash in California last year.
The blue, white and gold Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 basketball shoes are expected to retail for up to CHF 35,000 (about $ 38,000) at Sotheby’s November 11 sale. According to the auction house, Bryant wore sneakers in his March 17, 2004 victory over the LA Clippers.
But, as usual, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and other gemstones will be the top selling items next week at Sotheby’s and rival Christie’s for the fall auction season in Geneva.
Christie’s unveils on Tuesday a stunning pair of heavy 18th century bracelets set with three rows of small diamonds. The bracelets are heralded as one of the last remnants of Marie Antoinette’s wealthy jewelry cabinet that are still available for sale.
The auction house reported that the famous royal and wife of King Louis XVI was known to carefully wrap her jewelry in cotton herself, hoping to preserve them outside revolutionary France, which ultimately took her life with a guillotine. Crafted in 1776, the bracelets have been owned by the royal family for over 200 years, according to Christie’s.
“Despite the capture of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution and her unfortunate death in 1793, the bracelets survived and were given to her daughter, Madame Royal, and then the Duchess of Parma,” said Max Fawcett, head of Christie’s jewelry department. respectively, Marie-Thérèse of France, daughter of the couple, and Princess Louise d’Artois, who died in 1864.
“Seeing them at auction today is a unique opportunity for collectors around the world to own a piece of French royal history,” Fawcett said.
The bracelet presale is estimated at 4 million Swiss francs ($ 4.38 million). Each weighs 97 grams (3.42 ounces) and includes “old cut” diamonds as well as silver and gold, Christie’s said.
Among the lots that Sotheby’s plans to unveil on Wednesday are a pair of “perfectly matched” earrings, each encrusted with 25.8-carat diamonds, which are expected to fetch up to 5 million francs ($ 5.5 million).
It will also feature a 26.8-carat oval sapphire brooch surrounded by diamonds and matching ear clips that once belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna and were taken out of Russia during the 1917 revolution. The trio is expected to raise 480,000 francs ($ 525,800).
“She was the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir, the son of the Tsar, and was very fond of jewelry. She had a fantastic collection of jewelry, ”said Olivier Wagner, head of sales for Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels.