Re: Hanover (edited)
Posted by Beth on July 20, 2021, 7:15 pm, in reply to "Re: Hanover (edited)"
This is such a fascinating topic! |
The earliest reference in the UK press that I have recorded of Marie Antoinette having given the pearls to the Countess of Sutherland (later Duchess) is 1907. (That is based on the initial research I did on the necklace when I identified who owned the necklace)
But, I am sure that, if I searched, I would find earlier references. I think that the family's version is of very long standing.
As I see it, the issue is that no one can prove or disprove the reference to Marie Antoinette having given the pearls to her friend, the Countess of Sutherland.
If there was definite proof, I am sure that the necklace would have sold at the Christie's auction, but it didn't. If people are to pay a premium based on the provenance of a jewel, most want tangible proof. Without documentation or a clear chain of inheritance back to an original jewel, purchasers are wary. I am sure that the Earl of Cromartie would have been able to prove the length of time his family had owned the necklace etc, but the link to Marie Antoinette is the weak link in establishing a value for the jewel.
Some people have said to me privately that they do not credit the story because of the nature of the black pearls, meaning that the pearls are marked and not of uniform quality and shape. I do not subscribe to that opinion. At the time of Marie Antoinette, black pearls were a rarity and any, of any description, were very valuable. Even today with the cultured pearl industry in black pearls, it is extremely rare to find an unmarked black pearl, and the price of necklaces made of black pearls with minimal marks is astronomical (although colour is also a factor)