“Let Them Eat Cake”
These were the famous words allegedly uttered by Queen Marie Antoinette upon being told her subjects were starving, and had no bread. She paid the price of her callousness with her head, and was the last Queen of France before the monarchy was abolished during the French Revolution. She was however, also known for her impeccable sense of style and ostentatious lifestyle.
The court of France during King Louis XVI’s reign was the center of fashion, luxury, and beauty in Europe and around the world. No dynasty could match their panache; and art, architecture, and fashion thrived under them.
Whilst most people associate her palace Versailles as her most iconic symbol, she was also known for her dazzling jewelry; having had several stunning pieces commissioned and inherited numerous beauties as well. The French Crown Jewels disappeared mysteriously during the storming of the palace and only surfaced 200 years later. Rumor had it that the King and Queen hid them as they planned their escape to the Queen’s home in Austria. The Monarchs were discovered, and killed, but their jewelry disappeared completely until two centuries later.
Perhaps their most famous ornament, the Hope Diamond was inherited by King Louis XVI. It was mined in India and considered cursed, as it was allegedly stolen from a deity. After resurfacing in 1813 the stone exchanged many owners before being donated to the Smithsonian Institute by Harry Winston himself. The diamond is a brilliant blue and is 45.52 carats.
The Hope Diamond, also inspired the blockbuster film The Titanic’s diamond pendant – The Heart of the Ocean.
DOUBLE BOW DIAMOND BROOCH WITH A YELLOW DIAMOND DROP
This elegant brooch was auctioned at Sotheby’s along with several other important pieces of jewelry that surfaced two centuries are the execution of the Monarchs.
Marie Antoinette’s DIAMOND AND PEARL PENDANT was an heirloom of the house of Bourbon and sold for 36 million dollars.
Her GRAY PEARL, RUBY & DIAMOND COLLAR is spectacular in terms of design and the brilliance of the gems in it.
Her taste was grandiose and over the top and she sadly paid with her life for it. But she left behind a legacy of style and elan that billionaires with all their wealth cannot duplicate. This Archduchess of Austria was perhaps the most celebrated fashion icon in Europe and popularized a feminine style of dressing for the ages.