Pearls are one of the oldest and most coveted gemstones in the world. The history of pearls used as jewelry goes back over 6000 years. Natural pearls of high quality, suitable for jewelry, are incredibly rare: for every 10-000 wild oysters caught in the sea, only 15 or 000 will produce a pearl! Due to their extreme rarity, as well as their distinguished history and provenance, natural pearl jewelry will always be valued higher than our current cultured pearls.
In this article, I want to introduce you to the most expensive pearl necklaces. And, of course, they are infinitely beautiful!
So, the 10 most amazing pearl necklaces:
1. La Peregrina
Last sold for $11,8 million, December 2011.
No list would be complete without mentioning La Peregrina, also known as the Pilgrim or the Wanderer. This large magnificent natural pearl takes its name from a 500-year journey through history and royal collections. Originally found in the Gulf of Panama by an African slave, La Peregrina was taken to Spain and presented to King Philip II, who gave it to his bride, Mary I of England. After her death, La Peregrina was kept among the royal jewels of Spain and remained there for 2 years.
By 1808, Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's older brother, was king of Spain. He was forced to abdicate in 1811 and La Peregrina was among the treasures he took with him and fled the country. The pearl was bequeathed to Napoleon 3 after his death, and La Peregrina was eventually sold to the Duke of Abercorn, so the magnificent traveler ended up in England. There it remained in the family collection for nearly a century until it was finally bought at auction by actor Richard Burton in 1969 for $37.
Barton famously gave La Peregrina to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, a well-known connoisseur of jewelry and pearls. Taylor cherished her Valentine's Day gift and wore it often in many configurations for decades until she asked a Cartier jeweler to create a stunning pearl, ruby and diamond necklace. Taylor could be seen at La Peregrina until her death, and the pearl was sent to auction house Christie's in 2011.
2. Baroda pearl necklace
Last sale for $7,1 million, April 2007.
The Baroda Pearl was originally an incredible seven-strand pearl necklace made up of carefully selected natural pearls ranging in size from 10,0mm to 16,0mm. The fabulous necklace belonged to the Indian Maharajas of the Baroda family and became famous due to its rarity and magnificent beauty.
Years later, the seven-strand Baroda pearl necklace was cut into pieces and given to various collectors. However, the largest part was combined into a large two-row pearl necklace of 68 round or slightly tear-shaped pearls measuring 9,47-16,04 mm and adorned with an incredible diamond clasp designed by Cartier. It entered auction house Christie's in 2007 and was sold with matching Cartier natural pearl earrings flanked by sparkling diamonds, a pearl and diamond brooch and a set of rings.
3. Big pink pearl - valued at $4,7 million
This exotic natural pearl is one of the largest and most beautiful of its kind in the world. The large pink pearl at a whopping 470 carats is stunning in its natural pastel pink hues and shimmers with iridescent flashes of blue, green, lavender, silver and orange!
The exact origin of the "Great Pink Pearl" is unknown, but biologists and gem experts believe that the pearl was grown by either red or pink abalones (Latin names Haliotis Rufescens and Haliotis Corrugata respectively) found in California, Australia and New Zealand. They are known to produce some of the most colorful and beautiful wild pearls in the world.
Discovered by a wild pearl hunter in 1990, the Large Pink was set in a diamond pendant setting. The large pink pearl was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "largest abalone pearl" ever found, but the recent discovery in 2010 of an even larger 710-carat abalone pearl (also found off the coast of California) has since intercepted this title this title.
4. Pearl necklace of the Duchess of Windsor
It was last auctioned for $4,8 million in 2007.
This impressive single-strand natural pearl necklace is known for being part of the Duchess of Windsor's jewelry collection, but its origins date back to the Imperial Russian era. Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna of Russia sold the necklace to King George V in 5, who presented the natural pearl necklace to his wife, Queen Mary of England. From Queen Mary, the necklace passed to the heir to the British throne, Edward, Duke of Windsor, who later presented the fabulous pearl necklace to his fiancee Bessie Wallis-Simpson upon his marriage in 1929.
The necklace was redesigned by Cartier on the orders of Queen Mary. Single strand natural pearl necklace consists of 28 creamy white natural pearls ranging in size from 9,2mm to 16,8mm.
After the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986, her entire collection of fine jewels was bequeathed to the French Research Institute with instructions to sell the entire collection through an auction, with the proceeds to go to medical research and charity. The last sale of the famous necklace of the Duchess of Windsor took place in 2007, it was bought by Calvin Klein as a gift to his wife.
5. Nameless necklace of 4 strands of natural black sea pearls
Auctioned for $5,1 million in 2011.
Rare and exotic natural pearl necklace is entirely composed of natural black pearls of dark charcoal gray color with luxurious shades reminiscent of the play of peacock plumage - green, eggplant, silver-steel. The origin of this unique multi-strand natural black pearl necklace is difficult to trace (Christie's auction house in New York remains silent). In 2011, it was sold for a record $5,1 million.
The Swiss Gemological Institute has examined the pearls and released an official gemological report confirming the wild origin of the pearls and their natural untreated colors.
6. Natural Black Pearl Cowdry Necklace
It was last sold for $5,3 million in October 2015.
The Legendary Cowdry Black Pearl Necklace is a natural black pearl necklace composed of stunningly beautiful natural pearls shining in multicolored hues of eggplant, green, peacock, silver and mink hues superimposed on a light blue to medium dark charcoal colored body. gray. These stunning pearl colors are very reminiscent of the famous cultured Tahitian pearl. This stunning single strand natural pearl necklace, 6,8-11,4 mm in diameter, consists of 38 exceptional quality pearls and is adorned with a large rectangular diamond clasp.
Originally owned by Lady Pearson, Viscountess Cowdray, the Cowdray pearl necklace first sold at Christie's in London for $3 million and was later sold again at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for $5,3 million.
7. Necklace of 7 strands "Festun" of natural white pearls
Sold at Christie's Geneva for $9,08 million in November 2013.
This absolutely amazing natural pearl necklace belonged to an unknown royal family. The necklace measures approximately 90cm and each strand is embellished with creamy pink natural pearls. An astounding 614 pearls ranging in size from 5,1mm to 17,05mm are hand-picked, the platinum and white gold bullion clasp of the necklace is studded with tiny diamonds.
Priced at $9 million, although not the highest price ever received for a pearl necklace (that award belongs to La Peregrina, #1 on our list), it is nonetheless one of the most expensive necklaces in the world.
8. Cartier Dodge Pearl Necklace
Last sold for $1,1 million in 2018.
This legendary multi-row natural pearl necklace is said to have originally belonged to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great. The stunning layout was purchased by Cartier after the Russian Revolution of 1917, who was an avid collector of Russian imperial jewels.
Cartier then sold the necklace to Horace Dodge, the founder of the Dodge Motor Company, for $825—an incredible $000 million in today's dollars.
9. Queen Josephine's pearl necklace
Sold for $3.
Magnificent pearl and diamond necklace consists of two strands of natural pearls measuring approximately 6,25 to 8,45 mm, on which are suspended seven detachable teardrop-shaped natural pearls measuring approximately 9,50 x 9,55 x 13,810 to 14,85 mm. x 21,25 mm, studded with pink diamonds, clasp set with a cushion-shaped diamond.
Beautiful in their own right, pearls associated with famous women have a special aura, which is all the more unusual since, once disassembled, the former possession is usually impossible to trace. Thus, a well-documented royal lineage adds to the importance of this double row of round white pearls with seven removable pear-shaped drops.
10. Barbara Hutton / Marie Antoinette Single Strand Natural Pearl Necklace
Last auctioned for $1,47 million in 1999.
This stunning pearl necklace has a colorful and tragic story. Originally owned by Marie Antoinette, the French queen who was beheaded during the French Revolution. It is not known how the necklace escaped France after her death, but suddenly it was not given to Barbara Hutton in 1933.
The necklace was a gift from her father, owner of the Woolworth department store in the United States. Hutton was known for her beauty and wild spending habits - although she was incredibly wealthy in her youth, she eventually died bankrupt.
The pearl necklace consists of 44 exceptionally beautiful round pearls measuring 8,7-16,33 mm, adorned with a large stunning turquoise and diamond clasp. When the necklace was last auctioned at Christie's in 1999, it fetched a record $1,47 million.
Although this record has since been broken by other natural pearl necklaces of legendary origin, at the time the Hutton/Antoinette pearl necklace was the most expensive pearl necklace in the world.