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Marie Antoinette pearls unseen for 200 years to be auctioned

June 13, 2018
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This undated handout photo released by Sotheby's Geneva shows a diamond tiara given by Emperor Franz Joseph to his great-niece Marie Anna of Austria, expected to sell for $80,000-120,000. One of the most famous royal jewellery collections ever to come to auction will be coming to Sotheby’s in Geneva on 12 Nov. 2018. Entitled “Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma Family”, the auction will span centuries of European history, from the reign of Louis XVI to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and will offer fascinating insights into the splendor of one of Europe’s most important royal dynasties. (Sotheby's Geneva via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Sotheby’s says it’s auctioning a set of natural pearls that once belonged to the famed — or infamous — French queen Marie Antoinette, and have not been seen in public for two centuries.

The sale of “Royal Jewels from the Bourbon-Parma family” is set to take place in Geneva on Nov. 12.

Sotheby’s says Marie Antoinette, who was guillotined during the French Revolution, was often portrayed wearing pearls, which the auction house says were as prized as diamonds in the late 18th century.

Announcing the sale Wednesday, the auction house said the pearls have not been seen in public in 200 years.” The collection includes one piece with a diamond pendant and natural pearl that is estimated to fetch up to $2 million.

Sotheby’s international specialist Daniela Mascetti said each jewel is “absolutely imbued with history.”

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