Christie’s auctions Marie Antoinette’s pearls

Marie Antoinette's pearls could fetch £40,000 at London auction

SUMPTUOUS PEARLS WHICH once belonged to Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, are to go on sale in London next week.

Experts believe the necklace could fetch £400,000 when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London on Wednesday.

The 21 jewels were smuggled out of France during the French revolution by the Countess of Sutherland, the wife of the British ambassador and an ally of the extravagant queen.

The countess expected to return them when the wife of Louis XVI escaped from prison – but she never did and went to the guillotine in 1793.

Half a century later in England, the drop-shaped natural pearls were mounted onto a necklace with diamonds and rubies for the wedding of the countess’s grandson in 1849.

‘It is exceptionally rare to be able to offer jewels that belonged to Marie Antoinette and which are completely fresh to the market,’ said Raymond Sancroft-Baker, a jewellery expert at Christie’s.

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