#7 Marie Antoinette/ Barbara Hutton Single-Strand Pearl Necklace $ 1.6 million (sold by Christie’s in 1999)
The name refers to a magnificent single-strand pearl necklace, with a great historic significance that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, the queen consort of King Louis XVI, the monarch of France, who together with his wife were guillotined to death during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1793. The necklace eventually came into the possession of Barbara Hutton, the granddaughter of Woolworth department store magnate, who was the heiress to an immense fortune left behind by her grandparents and mother, and became one of the richest women in the world. Barbara Hutton inherited $40 million (the equivalent of at least $2 billion today) on her twenty-first birthday in 1933. Mr Franklyn Laws Hutton, father of Barbara purchased it as a gift on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Alexis Mdivani, on June 1933 and it was rumored, at the time, to have cost $1,000,000. A great collector and connoisseur of jewelry, Barbara was particularly fond of Marie Antoinette’s single-strand pearls. It was the jewel that she most frequently wore.
This magnificent necklace is composed of 41 graduated natural pearls with an old mine-cut diamond cluster clasp.