Precious Pearls-The Most Expensive Pearls in the World
Pearls are one of nature’s most magical phenomenon. Throughout history, mankind has had a special affinity for this treasure of the sea that comes in a variety of colours and shapes. Let us look at some of the most rarest, thus the most expensive pearls that were sold at auctions.
Melo Melo. Abalone. Conch. Akoya. Tahitian. These are not any random names. These are some of the most elusive pearls found on Planet Earth. Produced by oysters because of the discharge of nacre caused by an external particle such as sand or grain entering the shell, pearls are considered to be one of the rarest and the most magical occurrences in the world. They have been a symbol of affluence, a token of love and a string of pearls has a profound meaning in the book of fashion and style. Many a powerful men and women have worn pearls to exude a sense of charm and aristocracy. These pearls have proven to be even pricier than both diamonds and emeralds put together.
$3.5 Million Conch Pearl Bracelet
This piece of precious jewellery was created by Cartier in 1920 and was part of Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain’s repertoire. Resembling a band of vines, where the pale pink conch pearls are fruits and the vine itself is made with cushion-shaped, circular, single-cut, and rose diamonds, embellished with black enamel, the slightly different shade and size of the these baby pink pearls makes it one of the most rarest piece of jewellery to be made to date. At this time, Cartier was using gemstones like emeralds and diamonds generously, so the use of such pearls was probably a request from the Queen’s end. This bracelet was auctioned at Sotheby’s Geneva for a whopping $3.5 million in November 2014.
$7 Million Baroda Pearl Necklace
In 2007, Christie’s made an announcement about the most natural pearl necklace to ever be seen at an auction at the Magnificent Jewels sale in New York. The two strand natural pearl necklace consisting of 68 large pearls was originally a part of the 7-strand necklace that belonged to the Maharaja of Baroda. The 7-strand necklace was handed down to Sita Devi, the then Queen. While many of the state jewels of Baroda were sold in Monaco, the pearl necklace remained within the family for a long time. The two strands are joined by a cushion-cut diamond Cartier clasp, consist of sixty-eight graduated pearls, all exact in colour, luster and shape, something never witnessed in the history of jewels before. As expected, the legendary pearl necklace was sold for $7 million in 2007.
$11.8 Million Peregrina Pearl
The second most expensive pearl to be sold, this piece of jewellery became one of the most important piece of artifact in the history of auctions. This was auctioned as part of landmark auctions dedicated to film star and fashion icon Elizabeth Taylor.The 16th century pearl necklace was gifted to Taylor by Richard Burton which he bought for $37000 in 1969. The 50.56-carat pearl was refashioned by Cartier with diamonds and rubies to offset what she called “the most perfect pearl in the world.” The pearls are believed to be found in Panama and has seen many an owner till it landed in Burton’s hands. Legend has it that the pearls were lost 20 minutes from the time of its delivery, but eventually it was found in the mouth of one of her pet dogs.
$5.3 Million Cowdray Pearls
Tahitian pearls also known as the black pearls are among the rarest of gemstones to be found on earth. The Cowdray pearls set the record of being the 3rd most expensive piece of pearl jewellery ever to be sold in the history of auctions. In 2012, it was sold for $2 million and in just over three years it’s value more than doubled to $5.3 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. The necklace has not 10 but 42 of these rare Tahitian pearls, which are of the same lustre, shape and size. Grey in colour, these pearls are also known to have specs of brown with overtones of pink, green and purple. It was owned by Viscountess Cowdray and after her demise in 1932, the necklace was refashioned by none other than Cartier.
$4.8 Million Duchess of Windsor Pearls
Wallis Simpson was known for her fine taste when it came to jewellery. She was popular for her social life and her lavish parties and of course all embellished with dazzling diamonds and other gemstones. One among her favourites was the pearl necklace with the large natural drop pearl pendant. It was the only gift to her from his mother Queen Mary and is till date considered to be exceptionally rare for its large pearls, well matched in shape, size and lustre. This necklace is believed to have been bought by King George V in 1929 from the jewels of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, his aunt. The removable pendant was later bought by the Duchess from Olga Tritt, a New York based jeweller. The necklace that we see today was restrung by Cartier in 1950 and the Duchess wore a pair of mismatched pearl ear studs from Van Cleef & Arpels and she was often seen wearing them together. In 1987, Calvin Klein bought the necklace at an auction in Sotheby’s Geneva for $733,333 nd natural pearl pendant for $298,675. Later, they auctioned the jewellery in Sotheby’s New York in 2007 for $4.8 million.