Queen Josefina’s Pearl Necklace

The spectacular Queen Josefina’s Pearl Necklace is going on Auction at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Sale in Hong Kong later today, so we are featuring the magnificent royal heirloom and examine its illustrious provenance!

Composed of two strands of one hundred and five natural pearls, suspending seven detachable drop-shaped natural pearls, all capped with rose-cut diamonds, to the clasp set with an old-mine-cut diamond. Attributed to Nitot, the predecessor of the House of Chaumet, the necklace likely originated with the famed Empress Josephine, the first wife of Emperor Napoleon.

The necklace was probably a gift from Empress Josephine to her daughter-in-law, Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg, who received similar spectacular gifts like the Norwegian Emerald Parure, the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure, and the Swedish Cameo Parure. Princess Augusta was portrayed wearing the pearl necklace in various portraits,

Around the time Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg, daughter of the Duke of Leuchtenberg and Princess Augusta, married the future King Oscar I of Sweden, she received Queen Josefina’s Pearl Necklace. The necklace was often paired with the Swedish Cameo Tiara for a series of Portraits until the 1850s.

After Queen Josefina’s death in 1876, her pearl necklace was inherited by the then Swedish Queen, Queen Sofia, who loaned it to her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Victoria, for a Charity Ball in benefit of the Sophiahemmet Hospital in the 1880s, when she put the pearl necklace in her hair.

However it was another of Queen Sofia’s daughters-in-law who eventually received Queen Josefina’s Pearl Necklace, Princess Ebba Bernadotte, the morganatic wife of Queen Sofia’s second son, Prince Oscar.  Princess Ebba was pictured wearing the piece numerous times from the early 1890s to the 1940s.  Later in the 1950s, the necklace was pictured by Countess Gerty Bernadotte of Wisborg, the daughter-in-law of Prince  Gerty

Originally auctioned by the Bernadotte of Wisborg Family in 1995, it was reappeared at Auction in 2014 at Sotheby’s Geneva for 3,301,000 Swiss francs. It had been exhibited a number of times, including the National Museum in Stockholm and in Paris on Napoleon and Joséphine’s jewels by Chaumet. Today the price is available on request, but is no doubt going to be astronomical.

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels | 12 October 2021

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