October 28, 2019
What do you know about La Perla Peregrina?
La Peregrina”, probably the most famous pearl in history, with a remarkable provenance since the late 16th century, from Philippe II to Carlos IV of Spain to Joseph Bonaparte of France (1808) and later in the UK to the Duke of Abercorn (1848). The drop-shaped nacreous natural pearl, reportedly from Panama (presumably from the so-called La Paz Pearl oyster, Pinctada mazatlanica) weighs 202.24 pearl grains, equivalent to 50.56 carats (1 pearl grain = 0.25 carat), measuring 17.35-17.90 x 25.25 mm, was bought in 1969 at an auction by American actor Richard Burton for $37,000 as a Valentine’s Day present to his wife, planetary movie star Elizabeth Taylor. It was later set on a necklace by Cartier in 1972 based on a drawing made by the actress, including 57 more natural pearls, 4 cultured pearls, rubies and diamonds. In 2011, the necklace was offered for sale at Christie's New York with a $2-3 million estimate. It sold for $11,842,500, then a record for any pearl at auction. Photos © Christie’s 2011