Long hidden, Marie Antoinette's jewels go up for auction

GENEVA — 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.

Perhaps the highlight piece is "Queen Marie Antoinette's Pearl," a diamond-and-pearl pendant estimated to fetch $1 million-$2 million — maybe more. It features a drop-shaped, 2.58-cm (about 1-inch) natural pearl that outsizes the Peregrina that was once in Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor's collection.

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