You Can Own One of the French Crown Jewels
M.S. Rau is selling a magnificent necklace that was worn by France’s royal family.
In 1887, the French crown jewels were publicly sold to the highest bidders in what was regarded as the auction of the century. Exquisite ruby, emerald, and diamond jewels and tiaras that were worn by kings, queens, and empresses were sold by the newly elected Third Republic. The infamous sale was fueled by the government’s fear that royalists might stage a coup, but they reasoned that without a crown, there could not be a King.
One of those magnificent French crown jewels has resurfaced at M.S. Rau, the New Orleans-based art and antiques dealer. It’s a necklace set with rare Burmese rubies, old-mine cut diamonds, and natural pearls that was crafted circa 1830 and remains in perfect condition. The price tag for a piece of wearable history is $375,000. “There may never be another opportunity to own one of the French crown jewels,” says Bill Rau, the company’s president. He recently acquired the jewel from an elderly couple in Geneva and he doesn’t know of any other French crown jewels that remain in private hands today.
Even without the extraordinary provenance, he says the necklace is exceptional. “The Burmese rubies literally glow like hot coals,” says Rau. It’s also remarkably flowing and flexible and lays beautifully around the neck because each tassel is separately hinged.