Marie Antoinette


It should be no surprise that Marie Antoinette, the French Queen who famously couldn't care less about her subjects, had a load of top shelf jewellery. Well, they are currently on display at Sotherby's in London ahead of their auction in Geneva on November 14.

The Queen, sensing a thorough guillotining was afoot, tried to do a runner from the great unwashed to Varennes but secretly sent her jewellery to Brussels where her sister Maria Christina was in charge.

The jewellery eventually found it's way to Louise of France, Duchess of Parma and grand-daughter of Charles X, King of France. She in turn left it to her son, Robert I, the last ruling Duke of Parma. The collection stayed in the family ...until now!

The most valuable piece, a pearl pendant featuring a bow made of diamonds, is expected to fetch between $1 million and $2 million, according to the auction house's estimates. In the late 18th century, pearls were just as coveted as diamonds because of their rarity. Marie Antoinette, of course, wore them often until she had her head cut off by French revolutionaries who didn't like cake.

I would normally take this opportunity to point out the irony in the filthy rich baying to pay $2 million for a small object belonging to a woman who had a blatant disregard for the plight of her countrymen as she indulged sickening luxuries and watched the common man starved to death in the gutter ...however, this is a genuine piece of history.