Wednesday, 4 September 2019

The Jewels of Marie Leszczynska

The Polish-born Marie Leszczynska died in 1768; she had been the longest serving queen-consort of France with 43 years in the role. Like every other royal lady, she had her own personal collection of precious pieces of jewellery - these were hers and therefore were not counted amongst the Crown Jewels of France. Consequently, they give us an insight into her personal tastes and relationships. She was also entitled to bestow them on whomever she wished through her last will and testament whereas the Crown Jewels passed to the next queen.

Aigrettes / Hair Adornments

1 aigrette of diamonds (described as being in "sultane" style, so perhaps inspired by Ottoman jewellery?) 


1 pearl bracelet with a portrait of the king framed by diamonds mounted on five rows of 66 genuine pearls and some artificial

1 bracelet of pearls and a diamond

2 gold bracelets

1 gold bracelet containing the hair of the queen of Poland (her mother)

1 gold bracelet with a portrait of the queen of Poland 

1 gold bracelet with a portrait of the king of Poland 

1 bracelet with the monogram and hair of the king of Poland 

1 bracelet with the hair of Louis Ferdinand, her late son

2 gold bracelets containing the portraits of her eldest daughter, Louise Élisabeth, and her son-in-law, Philip, Duke of Parma


1 pair of girandole earrings in the following pattern: two brilliants formed a loop with a square diamond in the middle - six brilliants made up pendants completing the girandole

1 pair of earrings consisting of a total of 66 brilliants including four larger brilliants


1 necklace in choker-style with a bow of pink diamonds at the centre and twelve prominent diamonds surrounding them. The remainder of the necklace was made up of smaller diamonds.

1 necklace with a wooden cross, eight smaller crosses and rings or hearts of gold (apparently Marie was particularly fond of this necklace as she was said to be "always" wearing it)

Parure / Sets

1 parure intended to be worn for mourning. It was made from black jet and consisted of a necklace, earrings, girandoles and individual pieces to be attached to clothing.


1 diamond-covered cross

1 crystal cross containing wood from the alleged "True Cross" surrounded by 44 diamonds and mounted on a base of 83 diamonds

1 pendant of a large oval-shaped diamond


1 ring with a large, pink diamond

1 ring with a likeness of the king of Poland (her father)

1 ring with a portrait of the king of Poland and three diamonds

1 golden ring with braided locks of hair 

1 ring which used to belong to her eldest son, Louis Ferdinand

1 ring depicting Saint Népomucene 

2 silver rings

1 diamond ring

1 ring with a large diamond


1 Saint Népomucene of six principal diamonds, eighteen brilliants, seven smaller diamonds and four rubies

1 ribbon (possibly to be worn as a necklace) with a total of 162 pink precious stones and 60 brilliants

A number of pearls (probably to be attached to clothing)

As can be seen, Marie Leszczynska seems to have preferred rings and bracelets but were less inclined towards necklaces.

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