A History of the Most Expensive Pearls Ever Sold
A record price for a conch pearl jewel at auction, which was paid for a 1920s Cartier conch pearl, enamel, and diamond bracelet sold at Sotheby's Geneva on November 14, 2012. Photo: Sotheby's
The amount paid for a suite of natural pearl jewelry owned by the maharaja of Baroda at Christie's New York in April, 2007. Photo: Getty
Amount Christie's Geneva received for a seven-strand necklace set with 614 natural pearls (and a few diamonds) in November 2013. Photo: Christie's
Price fetched by La Peregrina ("The Pilgrim"), an egg-shaped pearl suspended from a diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace by Cartier, at Christie's New York in 2011. The pearl, which was found by a slave in the 16th century (who won his freedom for the discovery), changed hands many times before Richard Burton paid $37,000 for it and gave it to Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. The 50.56-carat pearl was delivered to Taylor—and lost 20 minutes later. It was found in the mouth of one of her Lhasa Apsos, and it remains the most expensive pearl in the world. Photo: Getty
According to legend, Cleopatra, anxious to impress Rome with the extent of Egypt's wealth, wagered Marc Antony that she could host the most expensive banquet in history. She crushed one large pearl from a pair of earrings and dissolved it in a goblet of wine (or vinegar) and drank it. The historian/gemologist Pliny estimated the pearl's worth at 60 million sesterces, or roughly $28.5 million today. Photo: Getty
A look at some of the most valuable pearls in the world—and the stories behind their journeys to market.
From: Town and Country Magazine