Napoleon’s Diamond and Sapphire Engagement Ring Offered to Josephine
The 18th-century century gold ring is in a setting called "toi et moi," "You and Me," with opposing tear-shaped jewels -- a blue sapphire and a diamond. The two oval gemstones weigh both less than a carat.
The jewel was bought when Napoleon Bonaparte was a general in the French army before he knew glory.
It was initially estimated at around 20,000 dollars by the French auction house Osenat.
"At that time, Napoleon had very little money. The ring is a common one," explained Jean-Christophe Chataignier, the head of the auction house's historical objects department.
But at the auction... surprise! The famous engagement ring given by Napoleon to Josephine de Beauharnais was sold at an exorbitant price - almost a million dollars. More exactly - 946,000 dollars.
What happened at the auction
Due to the historical significance of the engagement ring, hundreds of bidders showed up at the auction.
"In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times. We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine's provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium", Emily Villane, who led the auction that took place in March 2013, told ABC News.
According to Emily Villane, it was 15 minutes of relentless bidding.
"We opened at 10,000 euros, I raised it to 50,000 euros. From then on it was going up by 10,000. When the hammer went down at 730,000 euros there was a huge applause", said Villane.
The buyer of the gorgeous engagement ring wanted to remain anonymous.
The marriage between Napoleon and Josephine
Napoleon married Josephine, the widow of the aristocrat Alexandre de Beauharnais, on March 9, 1796, a few days after announcing his engagement.
The marriage was not well received by Napoleon's family, who disagreed with his marriage to an older woman with two children.
Two days after the wedding, Napoleon left to lead the French army in Italy.
The couple divorced in 1810 due to the fact that Josephine could not have a child with Napoleon.