The jewels –a pearl and diamond corsage brooch (estimate €60,000-100,000) and a pearl and diamond diadem (€100,000-200,000) – both date from c.1890, the year Marie Valerie (her mother called her ‘the only one’) married Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria-Tuscany.
Wilhelm Friedrich Haarstrick, who worked for AE Köchert until 1891 as workshop manager, designed the diadem with the brooch also made by the court jeweller c.1890. They come for sale by descent.
The last empress
Christie’s Important Jewels auction in London on November 27 will include historic jewels formerly in the collection of Eugénie de Montijo (1826-1920), wife of Napoleon III.
The last empress of France famously enjoyed haute joaillerie: she had many of the surviving crown jewels remounted to suit her personal taste and commissioned new pieces from the most famous jeweller in Paris.
A pair of 19th century natural saltwater pearl drop earrings (£60,000-80,000) features alongside a mid-19th century ruby and diamond heart locket pendant c.1850-60 (£10,000-15,000).
The locket was included in the 2008 exhibition, Le Musée Chaumet, Le Grand Frisson - Bijoux de Sentiment, de la Renaissance à nos jours, in Paris. Adorned with circular-cut rubies and old and rose-cut diamonds, a glazed compartment on the reverse of the pendant contains a lock of hair reputedly belonging to Napoleon III.