Marie Antoinette's Jewels Sell for Double the Estimated Auction Price

The jewels sold for over $8 million.

Diamond bracelets that once belonged to Marie Antoinette just sold for $8 million — double the expected price.

"Queen Marie Antoinette's diamonds captured the world's attention and achieved a fitting result for such a magnificent Royal Jewel!" International Head of Jewelry at Christie's Auction House, Rahul Kadakia, said in a statement, shared with CNN this week.

The jewels, over 200 years old, were purchased by the queen in 1779, two years after she stepped into her royal role and was painted wearing them in 1785, according to a Christie's press release. During the French Revolution, she packed up the jewels and sent them to Brussels for safekeeping. Her surviving daughter inherited the jewels and was later also painted wearing them.

Another jewelry expert at Christie's told the network that the bracelets were possibly made by Charles Auguste Boehmer, Marie-Antoinette's personal jeweler.

The bracelets were expected to fetch anywhere from $2 million to $4 million at auction. The final number came in at $8.2 million (£5.8m), crushing pre-auction estimates.

"To find jewels with over 200 years of French royal history is truly something that collectors and passionate jewelry people from all over the world will be keeping an eye on," Max Fawcett, head of Christie's jewelry department in Geneva, told Reuters ahead of the auction. "We have seen the results before of things sold by Marie Antoinette, that there really is no limit to how high these can go and I'm expecting fireworks on Tuesday," Fawcett said.

Christie's also auctioned a diamond and ruby bangle given to Wallis Simpson, the last Duchess of Windsor — which has its own fascinating history. It is a Cartier bracelet with two rubies and diamond insets. Although the piece is not one of the duchess's most fantastic, it is one of the most sentimental. It was given to her by the Prince of Wales on their first wedding anniversary (and became a symbol of their freedom from the royal family). Christie's estimates that the bracelet could fetch as much as $2.15 million at auction.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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