Diamond bracelets that belonged to executed Marie Antoinette are expected to fetch £ 3million

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Two diamond bracelets that belonged to Marie-Antoinette who gave them to a friend to keep before her execution are expected to sell for £ 3million.

The stunning jewelry, which contains 112 diamonds, was among the few surviving goods sent from France before she and her husband, King Louis XIV, were captured during the French Revolution.

After the royal couple’s execution in 1793, the jewels ended up with their eldest daughter, Marie-Thérèse, who was exiled to Britain.

She died in 1851 and her jewelry collection was shared between her three nieces and nephews, the Count and Countess of Chambord and the Duchess of Parma.

The two matching bracelets were presented to Christie’s auctioneers by a mysterious member of European royalty who sells them nearly 250 years later.

Two diamond bracelets that belonged to Marie Antoinette who gave them to a friend to keep safe before her execution are expected to sell for £ 3million

François Curiel, President of Christie’s in Europe, said: “It is a privilege to be able to offer these exceptional and unique bracelets which will attract auctions from collectors around the world.

“As recent sales show, the market for noble-sourced jewelry continues to perform very well.

“Among the jewels whose provenance is traceable to the Queen of France, these extraordinary bracelets are the only example to include diamonds belonging to her.

“While it is possible that the bracelets were reassembled at a later stage, no changes were made to the overall makeup. “

Marie Antionette bought the bracelets for 250,000 pounds in 1776, paying for them in part with precious stones from her personal collection and with funds provided by her husband.

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The king’s personal papers dated at the time indicate: “To the queen: deposit of 29,000 pounds for the diamond bracelets she bought from Boehmer.”

Marie Antionette bought the bracelets for 250,000 pounds in 1776, paying for them in part with gems from her personal collection and with funds provided by her husband, King Louis XIV

The stunning jewelry, which contains 112 diamonds, was among the few surviving goods sent from France before she and her husband, King Louis XIV, were captured during the French Revolution.

The stunning jewelry, which contains 112 diamonds, was among the few surviving goods sent from France before she and her husband, King Louis XIV, were captured during the French Revolution.

The two matching bracelets were presented to Christie's auctioneers by a mysterious member of European royalty who sells them almost 250 years after Marie-Thérèse's death

The two matching bracelets were presented to Christie’s auctioneers by a mysterious member of European royalty who sells them almost 250 years after Marie-Thérèse’s death

As the French Revolution gathered pace, the Queen placed the bracelets in a wooden chest which she sent to the Austrian Ambassador and personal friend, Count Mercy-Argenteau, in Brussels in 1791.

He kept the box safe and closed until Marie-Antoinette was tried for treason and guillotined on October 16, 1793 following the abolition of the royal family.

Emperor Francis II of Austria, the queen’s brother, later ordered the safe to be opened and an inventory made of the items she had left behind.

The jewelry inside was presented to her daughter, Marie-Thérèse, 17, known as Madame Royale, the only surviving member of the French royal family.

Vincent Meylan, a historian who researched bracelets for his new book, said: “The story begins in 1794 when a jewelry box was opened in Brussels by Count Mercy Argenteau, Austrian Ambassador to France and personal friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

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“In March 1791, the Queen sent her jewelry to Count Mercy for safekeeping. She had been guillotined in Paris on October 16, 1793.

“All of her jewelry was given to her only surviving child, Madame Royale, who had just been released from Temple prison in Paris.

“She had entered the Temple in August 1793 with her father, King Louis XVI, her mother, Queen Marie-Antoinette, her brother, the Dauphin and her aunt, Madame Elisabeth – all were dead by the time she left.”

After the royal couple's execution in 1793, the jewels ended up with their eldest daughter, Marie-Thérèse, who was exiled to Britain.  Above: Marie-Thérèse wears the jewelry in an 1816 portrait painted by Antoine-Jean Gros

After the royal couple’s execution in 1793, the jewels ended up with their eldest daughter, Marie-Thérèse, who was exiled to Britain. Above: Marie-Thérèse wears the jewelry in an 1816 portrait painted by Antoine-Jean Gros

Queen Marie Antoinette was born Archduchess of Austria as the daughter of Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1755.

She married into the French royal family in 1770 at the age of 14.

The queen had tried to flee Paris to Varennes with her family in June 1791 but they were captured and placed under house arrest.

They were then imprisoned and the monarchy replaced by the National Convention in 1792.

The new government declared Louis XVI guilty of treason and he was guillotined on January 21, 1793, later followed by his wife.

Marie-Thérèse was freed during a prisoner exchange and taken to her mother’s birthplace in Vienna in 1795

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In a portrait of Antoine-Jean Gros, painted in 1816, Marie-Thérèse wears a pair of diamond bracelets remarkably similar to those she received from her mother.

The bracelets will be sold in Geneva, Switzerland on November 9.

The queen had tried to flee Paris to Varennes with her family in June 1791 but they were captured and placed under house arrest.  They were then imprisoned and the monarchy replaced by the National Convention in 1792. The new government declared Louis XVI guilty of treason and he was guillotined on January 21, 1793, followed later by his wife.

The queen had tried to flee Paris to Varennes with her family in June 1791 but they were captured and placed under house arrest. They were then imprisoned and the monarchy replaced by the National Convention in 1792. The new government declared Louis XVI guilty of treason and he was guillotined on January 21, 1793, followed later by his wife.

How was Marie-Antoinette’s jewelry smuggled out of France?

In March 1791, King Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and their children began to prepare for their escape from France.

According to accounts written by Marie-Antoinette’s maid of honor, Madame Campan, the queen spent an entire evening at the Tuileries Palace wrapping all her diamonds, rubies and pearls in cotton and placing them in a wooden chest. .

In the following days, the jewels were sent to Brussels, which was under the reign of the queen’s sister, Archduchess Marie-Christine and which was the home of Count Mercy of Argentau.

The count, former Austrian ambassador in Paris, was one of the few to have retained the queen’s confidence.

It was he who took delivery of the jewels and sent them to Vienna, under the care of the Emperor of Austria, nephew of Marie Antoinette.

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