Marie Antoinette’s exquisite jewels going up for auction

GENEVA (AP) — Diamond and pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, a giant pearl pendant and other jewelry once belonging to ill-fated French queen Marie Antoinette are set to go on auction in Geneva, showcasing perhaps the quintessential emblems of pre-Revolutionary royal opulence in France.

Sotheby’s is billing the sale Wednesday as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to scoop up heirlooms and jewels that have been held in the Bourbon-Parma dynasty for generations, some of which haven’t been seen publicly for 200 years — until now.

Marie Antoinette, who was guillotined in 1793 at age 37, had secretly smuggled abroad some of her most treasured possessions to her relatives, amid swelling revolutionary fervor that ultimately marked the beginning of the end of France’s centuries-old monarchy.

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