Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perfect Peregrina Pearl

Once upon a time all pearls were natural, meaning that they developed spontaneously inside a mollusk. Early in the 20th century famed pearl man Mikimoto changed all that when he successfully cultured pearls by means of inserting a foreign object into the soft tissue of the lowly bi-valve.

The legendary Peregrina is both natural and enormous. Did I mention famous too? This 16th century bauble is approximately 50 carats--except that pearls are weighed in grains. This one is 203 grains, which was quite a whopper even to Spain's King Philip II, one of the first owners of this prized pearl.
Richard Burton, a history buff, bought the treasure for Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. She didn't tell him right away when her pekingese chewed on it after she accidentally dropped it.

Today, the extraordinary jewel set a world record for a pearl sale, fetching $11,842,500 at Christie's New York in less than five minutes of furious bidding with clients shouting out their million dollar bid increments. Now that's how to do an auction.

No comments: