A nine-piece antique jewelry set adorned with sapphires and diamonds, which belonged to Napoleon's adopted daughter, was sold at an auction in Geneva for 1.67 million dollars, far exceeding Christie's estimates.
According to Le Figaro, the antique nine jewels, offered for sale in separate lots, have remained in the same family since they were offered to Napoleon's adopted daughter, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, at her wedding that took place at the Palais des Tuileries in 1806.
"There has been a huge demand from collectors around the world," auction commissioner Max Fawcett told reporters, without revealing the names of the buyers.
As Switzerland recently relaxed its restrictions on Covid, about twenty bidders and spectators were present in the hall. The famous auction house also received many offers by telephone.
The antique jewelry set was put up for sale to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's death.
Wondrous Antique Jewelry Pieces
The nine pieces, including a tiara, a necklace, a pair of earrings, two pendants and brooches, as well as a ring and a bracelet, were auctioned in individual batches. The most expensive one - the sapphire and diamond tiara - was sold for more than 577,000 dollars.
The grand duchess's daughter, Princess Josephine, decided to remodel the jewels from the tiara and bracelet.
A total of 38 sapphires from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were used to create this set in the early 1800s. In addition to their historical value, these fine jewelry also have an intrinsic value due to the natural blue, as sapphires are usually subjected to a heat treatment to accentuate the color.
"Under Napoleon's court, jewelry was an essential part of fashion and women would wear matching, tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, rings, earrings, and belts decorated with precious stones. Fashion dictated that the waist was very high on dresses and court ladies needed a belt, which was placed just under the décolleté. High-quality sapphires were incredibly rare as it was long before the time of industrial mining," said Christie's expert Lukas Biehler.
Among the historical lots sold by the auction house was an important sapphire crown of Queen Maria II of Portugal (mid-nineteenth century) with a remarkable Burmese sapphire. It was sold for 1.95 million dollars.
Among the gemstones put up for sale by Christie's is a 100.94-carat rectangular white diamond (estimated at 12-18 million dollars) called "Le Spectacle," cut from a 207.29-carat rough diamond discovered in 2016 in Yakutia (Eastern Siberia), it was sold for 14.13 million dollars.