An Emperor’s Engagement Ring Goes for $948,000

Napoleon Ring

Before he was an emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte was a brilliant young general. At a dinner party, he was introduced to Marie-Josephe-Rose de Beauharnais and he fell so in love, he asked her to marry him after only a few months. Rose, as she was then called, was age 32, and a widow with two children. She was 6 years older than Napoleon, and she refused his advances repeatedly, until a mutual friend advised her to accept the match.

The sapphire and diamond engagement ring Napoleon Bonaparte gave to the woman he called Josephine recently fetched 730,000 euros at an auction in France last month.

The ring, which was from a collection of items belonging to Victor Napoleon and his wife, Princess Clementine of Belgium, is believed to have been passed down from Napoleon III, Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew and heir, to his descendents.

The Osenat auction house, in Fontainebleau, France, only expected the ring to sell for 10-15,000 euros. The auction house has not released the name of the buyer, but this year is the 250th anniversary of Josephine’s birth.