The “La Peregrina” pearl is one of the most famous pearls in the world with a recorded history of nearly 500 years. It is a large pear-shaped white nacreous pearl whose original weight was 223.8 grains (55.95 carats). In 1913 after the pearl was drilled, cleaned, and polished, it had a weight of 203.84 grains. The drilling was necessitated in order to secure it firmly to its setting, as the pearl was nearly lost on three different occasions after it had fallen off from its setting.
The “La Peregrina” pearl was at one time the largest pearl discovered in the world, but until today remains one of the largest pear-shaped pearls ever discovered. Pearls found in nature can be classified into eight basic shapes :- round, semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, baroque and ringed. The most desired shape of pearls is the perfect round shape, which are also the rarest and the most expensive. Round pearls are used in strings of pearls or necklaces. Drop and pear-shaped pearls, which are also known as tear-drop pearls are often used in earrings, pendants, or as centerpiece of necklaces. During its 500-year history the “La Peregrina” pearl had been variously used as a pendant to a brooch, pendant to a necklace, centerpiece of a necklace, and centerpiece of a hat ornament. Mary I used it as a pendant to a brooch, King Phillip IV of Spain used it as a hat ornament, other queens of Spain used it as a pendant to a necklace or the centerpiece of a necklace.
Today, the “La Peregrina” owned by Elizabeth Taylor’s Estate is set as a pendant to a necklace made out of pearls, rubies and diamonds. The necklace was designed by Cartier, after the pearl was purchased by Richard Burton at a Sotheby’s auction in 1969. The necklace is a double-stranded pearl necklace interspersed with equally spaced floral patterns eight in number, each having a ruby as its centerpiece, surrounded by diamonds in a floral pattern. The outer strand of pearls is composed of larger drop-shaped pearls, and the inner strand composed of smaller round-shaped pearls. The “La Peregrina” pearl is attached to this necklace as the lower part of an elaborate pendant. The centerpiece of this pendant is a floral design consisting of a central pear-shaped ruby surrounded by diamonds in a floral pattern. The necklace created by Cartier is indeed a masterpiece in its category, and represents the highest standards of jewelry designing for which Cartier has an international reputation.
The Pearl, in the above setting, goes up for Auction next Tuesday
it sold today for $11,842,500