Pearls are a girl’s best friend. Pearls are expensive because they are not easy to come by. There are two types of pearls namely the natural and cultured pearl. The natural pearl is the nacreous pearls produced by a certain clam species while the cultured pearls are produced in a more controlled setting.
Aside from how rare they are, they tend to be very pricey coming up at millions of dollars. Some pieces are high in history and value as they have been passed down from one generation to another. Definitely, worth the price, this jewelry can be worn day and night, can be paired, however, you want it; be it casual or formal.
If you find the big ones too bourgie, you can opt for a smaller pearl to accentuate your neckline. Above all the pieces on the list of most expensive pearls can set you back millions of dollars and I think you should flaunt them.
#1. Beauty Of The Ocean Pearl
This might just be the most expensive pearl in history. This pearl is made in China and discovered in Mongolia. It cost a whooping in $139 million.
This man-made pearl is revealed to glow softly in the dark. It took three years for this beauty which is composed of flourite.
It features a weight total of six tons and stands 5ft tall.
#2. Cleopatra’s Pearl
Cleopatra had crushed this pearl from a pair of earrings and dissolved it in a goblet of wine before drinking it. What happened was she made a bet with Antony that she could host the most expensive dinner in history so to impress him and show how wealthy Egypt his she gobbled down the pearl.
The famous story of Cleopatra’s pearls is told by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. Pliny often called the world’s first gemologist, estimated the two pearls’ worth at 60 million sestertii, or roughly $28.5 million in today’s dollars.
#3. La Peregrina
La Peregrina is a Spanish word that means wanderer and for sure this piece has wandered into many hands.
The story goes that it was found by an African slave in the Gulf of Panama, with the result that it was presented to King Philip II of Spain who presented it to his bride Queen Mary I of England. In time, La Peregrina returned to the Crown Jewels of Spain, where it remained until the Napoleonic era. From there, it made its way to the Duke of Abercorn, where it remained for a century before passing into the hands of Richard Burton and then Elizabeth Taylor.
In the course of being passed down from many generations, it became the favorite ornament for the Spanish Queen like the Queen Mary 1 of England, Magaret of Austria, etc.
In December 2011, the pearl was sold at a record price of $11.8 million after the bidding exceeded the estimated $3 million.
The gorgeous pearl necklace with captivating rubies on it features a carefully designed floral pattern. La Peregrina’s total weight is 55.95-carats.
#4. Baroda Pearl Necklace
The Baroda Pearl has Indian heritage. It is full of history as it has been worn through centuries and across generations by the Indian Maharajas of Baroda. The stone costs $7.1 million.
It is an accumulation of pearls gathered from the fourth,fifth-sixth, and seventh rows of the Maharajas. It is a total of 330 pearls that are worn by a generation of Indian royalties.
However, during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh Rao, he transported some of the Indian royal jewels to his home in Monaco. The government gave him an ultimatum to return the said jewels. Although he did return it all, a part of the seven-strand necklace was gone. Eventually, the missing piece was found in Christie’s auction, valued at roughly $7.1 million.
#5. Big Pink Pearls
The Big Pink Pearl is a huge deal that costs $4.7million. It was discovered at Salt Point State Park in Petaluma. It is considered to be the largest Abalone Pearl in the world attested by the Guinness Book Of World Records.
Scientists believe the pearl is a product of either the Red Abalone species ‘Haliotis Rufescens’ or the Pink Abalone species ‘Haliotis Corrugata.’ These oysters are most frequently found in California, New Zealand, and Australia. Abalone oysters produce some of the most beautiful pearls, exceptional in color, brilliance, luster, and coated with thick nacreous layers.
It weighs 470 carats and is currently owned by Rankin, the largest Abalone dealer in the World.
#6. The Duchess Of Windsor Pearl Necklace
This piece was auctioned in 2007 for $4.8 million.
It is a part of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry collection. The pearl has a history of being passed through the hands of royalties.
It was designed and created by Cartier. This beauty features 28 creamy white natural pearls ranging from 9.2-16.8mm. Just 14 inches, this necklace is a small choker length. The pearls are of the same shape and rounded.
It has a large Drop-shaped natural diamond and pearl earring made by Cartier at the Duke of Windsor’s request for his wife.
When the Duchess of Windsor died in 1986, all her collections of fine jewels acquired after a long and successful married life were willed to the French Research Institute, with instructions to dispose of the entire collection via auction with the proceeds going to medical research and charity.
The last sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s famous necklace was in 007 when it was purchased by Calvin Klein, as a gift for his wife.
#7. Double Strand Necklace
The double-strand necklace is made up of large pearls and costs $3.7 million.
This piece of jewelry grew pricey because of the stunning diamond clasp signed by the famous Cartier jewelry house. In terms of appearance, this pearl sometimes appears white or creamy white. It ranges in size from 6.50 to 12.25 millimeters. This luxury piece is worth the price and it was already sold by Christie’s in 2012.
#8. Lao Tzu Pearl
The story of the Lao Tzu Pearl or Pearl of Allah was told by Wilburn Dowell Cobb who owned this piece from 1939-to 1979. He got it from a Muslim chief who didn’t want to sell it to him as he considered it sacred but then he saved the Chief’s son from dying of malaria and was given the pearl as a token of gratitude.
It was considered the biggest of pearls. It has unique characteristics that make it appear to display rainbow-like colors and its shape isn’t something you see every day.
This rare beauty has quite a history and it cost 3.5 million dollars.
#9. Cowdray Pearl
The Cowdray piece is truly unique. It stands out for its exceptional grey color. It is one of the most expensive pearls coming after La Peregrina and Baroda.
The pearl is composed of Tahitian pearls. The Tahitian is rare which makes the Cowdray Pearl which is made up of 42 is more special. It is a saltwater pearl that is matched in size, shape, and color.
The pearl was formerly owned by Viscountess Cowdray who died in 1932. It was obtained by Cartier who mounted and strung it. After the 1937 auction, the necklace was reduced to 38 with two removed to make earrings.
In 2021, the necklace was returned to its original design of 42 pearls while using pearls from the earring and two other pearls from another jewel to make earrings.
This necklace’s clasp is a gorgeous rectangular mixed-cut diamond that undoubtedly added a lot of sparkle and luster to the said pearl necklace. Christie auctioned this piece in 2012 at $3 million, proving that its value has relatively increased in 3 years.
#10. Five Strands Natural Pearl
The Five Strands Natural Pearl cost 1.7 million and was sold by the famous jewelry house called Christie’s in 2012 All the pearls in each strand are finished and measured with preciseness and exactness. The strand in the innermost part of the necklaces comprises a set of sixty-three pearls, all graduated.
On the other hand, the second strand has 68 natural pearls, while the third strand is composed of seventy-two pearls. Both the fourth and fifth strands are made up of seventy-three natural graduated beads.
The ethnic-inspired clasp and the blue silk chain that holds the pearls added a unique look to the necklace.
FAQs On Most Expensive Pearls In The World
What are the different types of pearls?
Pearls come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the most common types of pearls found in fine jewelry are freshwater pearls, Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls.
How can I make sure my pearl jewelry will last a lifetime?
We suggest that you avoid putting on perfume, makeup, and hairspray when wearing your pearl jewelry. Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on while getting ready and the first thing you take off at night. If you ever need to clean your pearls, make sure to use a clean, soft cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or oil. Occasionally, pearl necklaces will need to be restrung. If you notice that your pearls seem loose to the touch, take them to a jeweler and have them restrung.
The most expensive pearls in the world are worth the price for they carry years of history and rarity with them. Most of them have been sold during auctions so I suggest you keep an eye out for the next Sothebys or Christie’s auction if you want one.