Continuing with our pearl theme for the month, here are some pearl facts by the numbers.
At Christie’s auction house in April 2007, $7.1 million was paid for a suite of natural pearl jewelry that had been owned by the maharaja of Baroda. The original seven strand necklace is now two strands.
Photo courtesy of Washington Life.
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 (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. Shortly after the 50.56 carat pearl was delivered to Taylor, it was lost and then found in the mouth of one of her Lhasa Apsos. It remains the most expensive pearl in the world. Read about it our first post here.
Record price for a 1920’s Cartier conch pear, enamel and diamond bracelet sold at Sotheby’s Geneva on November 12, 2012.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Amount Christie’s Geneva received for a seven strand necklace set with 614 natural pearls and a few diamonds in November 2013.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s.
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.
Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners by Alexandre Cabanel, 1887.
Which would you like? I would take them all!