GENEVA — A diamond bracelet formerly owned by Marie Antoinette of France and a sapphire-and-diamond brooch with matching ear clips previously worn by a Russian grand duchess are among the highlights of jeweler and other collectibles auctions in Geneva next week.
A pair of high-top Nike sneakers from late NBA star Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard who died in a helicopter crash in California last year, will also be auctioned off in the lakeside Swiss city.
During a Sotheby’s auction on Nov. 11, the blue, white, and gold Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 basketball sneakers are projected to earn up to 35,000 Swiss francs (about $38,000). According to the auction site, Bryant donned the sneakers in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 17, 2004.
On Tuesday, Christie’s will auction a stunning set of 18th-century thick bracelets adorned with three rows of tiny diamonds. The bracelets are said to be one of the last remaining pieces of Marie Antoinette’s extensive jewelry collection that is currently for sale.
According to the auction house, the famous monarch and wife of King Louis XVI were reported to have wrapped her diamonds in cotton herself, attempting to keep them out of revolutionary France – which ultimately claimed her life via the guillotine – in order to keep them safe. According to Christie’s, the bracelets, which were commissioned in 1776, were held within royal lineage for nearly 200 years.
“Despite Marie-capture Antoinette’s during the French Revolution and her tragic death in 1793, the bracelets survived and were passed on to her daughter, Madame Royale, and then the Duchess of Parma,” said Max Fawcett, head of Christie’s jewelry department, referring to the couple’s daughter Marie-Therese of France and Princess Louise d’Artois, who died in 1864.
“To see them up for sale today is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for collectors all across the world to possess a piece of French royal history,” said Fawcett.
The bracelets have a pre-sale estimate of up to 4 million Swiss francs ($4.38 million). According to Christie’s, they each weigh 97 grams (3.42 ounces) and contain “old-cut” diamonds as well as silver and gold.
A pair of “perfectly matched” earrings studded with 25.8-carat diamonds, projected to bring up to 5 million francs ($5.5 million), is one of the items Sotheby’s expects to display on Wednesday.
It will also include a 26.8-carat oval sapphire brooch and accompanying ear clips that originally belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna and were taken out of Russia during the 1917 revolution. The group is projected to earn up to 480,000 Swiss francs ($525,800).
“She was the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir, the tsar’s son, and she was a jewelry connoisseur.” Olivier Wagner, the head of Sotheby’s Magnificent Diamonds auction, remarked, “She had a magnificent collection of jewels.”