Royal jewelry, NBA star Kobe Bryant’s Nike shoes up for auction in Geneva

GENEVA: A diamond bracelet that once belonged to France’s Marie Antoinette and a sapphire and diamond brooch with matching ear clips that once hung from a Russian Grand Duchess are among the items featured in jewelry auctions and other collectibles next week in Geneva.

A pair of high-top Nike sneakers by late NBA star Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers guard who died in a helicopter crash in California last year, will also go under the hammer in the Swiss lakeside town. .

The blue, white and gold Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 basketball shoes are expected to fetch 35,000 Swiss francs (about $38,000) in a Nov. 11 sale at Sotheby’s. Bryant wore the sneakers in a March 17, 2004 win over the LA Clippers, according to the auction house.

But as usual in the autumn auction season in Geneva, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and other precious stones will be the highlights of next week’s sales at Sotheby’s and rival Christie’s.

Christie’s is rolling out a pair of heavy 18th century bracelets on Tuesday that are studded with three rows of small diamonds. The bracelets are presented as one of the last remnants of Marie-Antoinette’s rich jewelry cabinet still available for sale.

The auction house said the famed royal and wife of King Louis XVI was known to have carefully wrapped her jewelery herself in cotton, hoping to keep it out of revolutionary France – which would have ultimately claimed his life by the guillotine. The bracelets, commissioned around 1776, have been kept in the royal lineage for more than 200 years, Christie’s said.

“Despite Marie Antoinette’s capture during the French Revolution and her unfortunate death in 1793, the bracelets survived and were passed on to her daughter, Madame Royale, and then to the Duchess of Parma,” said Max Fawcett, head of the department. jewelry from Christie. , designating respectively Marie-Thérèse of France, the couple’s daughter, and Princess Louise of Artois, who died in 1864.

“To see them at auction today is a unique opportunity for collectors around the world to own a piece of French royal history,” Fawcett said.

The presale estimate for the bracelets is 4 million Swiss francs ($4.38 million). They each weigh 97 grams (3.42 ounces) and include ‘old-cut’ diamonds as well as silver and gold, Christie’s said.

Among the lots Sotheby’s plans to present on Wednesday, a “perfectly matched” pair of earrings, each set with 25.8-carat diamonds, is expected to fetch up to 5 million francs ($5.5 million).

It will also feature a brooch with a 26.8-carat oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds and matching ear clips that once belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna and were driven out of Russia during the 1917 revolution. raise up to 480,000 francs ($525,800).

“She was the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir, the Tsar’s son, and she was really into jewelry. She had a fantastic jewelry collection,’ said Olivier Wagner, Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sales manager.