Brace yourself for a list that will leave you in awe and your wallet quivering in fear. During her time as mistress to King Louis VX, Madame du Barry amassed an enormous collection of jewels. From rings to earrings, necklaces to pendants, watches to bracelets, and an abundance of gemstones and pearls, Madame du Barry had it all. Her collection reads like a dream, boasting over 140 large diamonds, 300 lustrous pearls, three sapphires, and seven mesmerising emeralds. That’s not to mention the countless rubies, onyxes, and the other assorted precious gems that filled her treasure trove. But amidst the opulence, her lavish collection also ignited a fire of discontent in a country grappling with extreme poverty. With such an extensive collection, no wonder it stirred anger in a country struggling with hunger. Let’s embark on this dazzling journey and explore the extraordinary world of Madame du Barry’s coveted jewels – a collection befitting a queen.
Glamour and rule-breaking: Madame du Barry’s dazzling reign and fashion flair
Born from humble origins and defying all odds, Madame du Barry became the talk of the town. From a stint as a high-class prostitute to ascending the ranks of royalty, she captivated hearts and ignited envy. And what better way to flaunt her newfound fortune than by indulging in her ultimate passion for jewels? With the king himself as her benefactor, her dazzling collection grew to astonishing heights.
During her reign as the royal mistress, Madame du Barry was immersed in a world of luxury, adorned with a mesmerising array of jewels, gemstones, and parures. But Madame du Barry wasn’t content with mere possession; she had a flair for making unforgettable entrances. She pushed the boundaries of fashion to new heights. She commissioned gowns adorned with meticulously sewn gemstones, transforming herself into a living masterpiece. One particularly prized creation, courtesy of Rose Bertin, featured golden sheaves meticulously embroidered on lustrous blue satin. It was a fashion statement that left onlookers in awe and cemented her status as a trendsetter.
Her jewels became her weapon of choice to dazzle the court, especially when she sought to display her influence or combat nerves. Picture her unexpected arrival at La Muette, shimmering in brilliant gemstones that captured every eye. And who could forget the historic occasion when she earned the privilege of dining with the royal family? She arrived in a breathtaking gown of cloth-of-gold, embellished with jewels rumoured to be worth an astronomical 5 million livres. She was a true master of making a statement, boldly breaking fashion rules by fearlessly mixing rubies with emeralds and pearls of various hues.
Jewellery’s failed diplomacy: Madame du Barry’s diamond earring debacle
But even amidst her opulent collection, Madame du Barry’s attempts to win over the future queen, Marie Antoinette, proved to be a glittering disappointment. In a bid to bridge the gap between them, the king’s mistress decided to extend an olive branch in the form of a pair of exquisite diamond earrings. Alas, love may not conquer all, but it appears that even jewellery couldn’t mend the divide. Despite the dazzling allure of the precious gems, Marie Antoinette remained unswayed, leaving Madame du Barry’s diplomatic jewellery gesture to fall flat. It seems that in the realm of royal relationships, sparkles alone couldn’t smooth the tensions.
The infamous necklace: unveiling the scandal of the affair of the diamond necklace
Within Madame du Barry’s vast collection of exquisite jewels, there is one piece that transcends all others – the notorious necklace that sparked a scandalous chapter in history. Sadly (for du Barry), this infamous piece never actually made it into her collection. Picture a necklace of such extravagance that it defied the standards of its time, capturing the imagination and attention of all who laid eyes upon it. Commissioned by the late Louis XV in 1772, this masterpiece was the creation of renowned jewellers Auguste Boehmer and Paul Bassange. However, destiny had its own plans. By the time the necklace was completed, the king had passed away, and its intended recipient, Madame du Barry, had been banished from the royal court. Talk about unfortunate timing!
I’ve written a whole post about it here if you want to read it.
The unending obsession: Madame du Barry’s endless quest for jewels
Madame du Barry’s insatiable passion for jewels knew no bounds. Even after the untimely demise of her royal lover, she continued to indulge in her dazzling obsession, thanks to the vast funds left to her by the late king. Her reign as a jewellery aficionado spanned from 1769 to 1774, during which she amassed an extraordinary collection of diamonds that would make any gem enthusiast green with envy.
In the year 1772 alone, Madame du Barry acquired an astonishing 91,000 livres worth of jewels from the renowned jeweller Aubert. Just when you thought her spending couldn’t get any more extravagant, she outdid herself in 1775 by splurging on a magnificent parure worth an eye-watering 390,000 livres.
When it came to lavish spending, Madame du Barry spared no expense. However, her opulent lifestyle eventually caught up with her, resulting in mounting debts that threatened to tarnish her glittering reputation. In a desperate bid to appease her creditors, she was forced to part ways with some of her beloved jewels. Two magnificent parures, adorned with diamonds and rubies fit for the grandest of courts, found themselves reluctantly entering the market, a poignant symbol of a former powerhouse who could no longer grace the halls of Versailles.
Unveiling the hidden treasures: Madame du Barry’s buried wealth and auction spectacle
After her fateful death sentence, whispers of buried chests filled with priceless treasures circulated through the halls of Louveciennes. Rumours painted a tantalising picture of diamond chains, earrings, rings, necklaces, collars of pearls, and even a portrait of Louis XV in a lavish gold frame lying in wait. The prospect of a treasure hunt like no other beckoned, shrouded in intrigue and excitement.
But what became of Madame du Barry’s magnificent collection after her execution? The remnants of her once-glorious jewels embarked on a new journey, one that would captivate the hearts of gem enthusiasts worldwide. Sold at auction, the question on everyone’s mind was: How much did these opulent treasures fetch?
Prepare to be astonished as the gavel fell and the final bid was announced—a staggering 1,281,210.99 euros! The mere thought of such an astronomical sum is enough to make any lover of exquisite jewellery weak at the knees. The legacy of Madame du Barry’s jewels lives on, not only in their breathtaking beauty but also in the record-breaking prices they commanded.
So, there you have it, dear readers—the captivating tale of Madame du Barry and her extraordinary jewels. From scandalous affairs to unparalleled extravagance, her collection shines as a testament to an era of opulence and excess that still fascinates to this day.
Until next time, sparkle on!