The name refers to a white and pink antique diamond necklace, with a drop-shaped natural pearl pendant, designed by Cartier, that came up for auction at the Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale" and realized a record price of CHF 795,000 (US$ 717,568), one of the highest prices recorded at the auctions. The enhanced price realized by the lot, which was 2Â½ times the upper pre-sale estimate of CHF 315,000 (US$ 284,268), was a clear indication of the revival of the strong auction market for antique natural pearl and diamond jewelry, after the dismal performance of such pieces of jewelry at auctions, during the recent global economic recession.
The natural pearl and diamond necklace by Cartier, which was lot no.78, appears to be closely related to the previous lot 77, Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants, in terms of design features and materials used, and the two pieces appear to have been part of the same parure, once belonging to the same anonymous owner, identified only as a lady, and the pieces described as the "property of a lady." Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants, set a world record at these auctions, by registering the highest ever price recorded for such ear-pendants at a public auction - CHF 465,000 (US$ 419,710). Please refer to our webpage on Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants .
Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace
The necklace consists of a spectacle-set circular diamond chain, 38 cm long and a drop-shaped pearl pendant 8.0 cm high. The length of 38 cm equivalent to 15 inches, falls within the range of 14-16 inches of a modern choker necklace.
The centerpiece of the necklace is the old circular-cut or old brilliant-cut pink diamond, spectacle-set or bezel-set on a white gold frame, with three loops, one at the bottom to suspend the pendant and two on either side, to connect the arms of the chain necklace. The connections of the centerpiece to the lower pendant and the two arms of the necklace are through a rectangular step-cut or baguette-cut diamond, also mounted on white gold. According to a GIA report accompanying the necklace, the circular-cut pink diamond has a weight of 2.80 carats, a color grading of fancy light pink, and a clarity grade of VS2.
The two arms of the necklace, made up of a chain of spectacle-set, old circular-cut diamonds are connected to the pink diamond centerpiece, through an inverted bell-shaped link, pave-set with tiny diamonds and rectangular baguette-cut diamond. The diamond chain is made up of old circular-cut or old brilliant-cut diamonds, spectacle set or bezel set on a white gold frames that are connected together to form the chain. Each of the diamond set frames has two loops arising from its opposite sides. The loop of one frame is connected to the loop of the adjacent frame by two links of chain. The sequence is repeated for the entire length of the chain, up to the clasp.
The centerpiece of the necklace, the old circular-cut pink diamond from which arise the two arms of the necklace and the pearl pendant
The drop-shaped pearl incorporated in the pendant is suspended from a line of five graduated bell-shaped links, increasing in size gradually from top to bottom. The top of the bell-shaped links fit into one another, so that only the top of the upper bell-shaped link is exposed. The bell-shaped links are pave-set with tiny diamonds. The top of the drop-shaped pearl fits into the lowest bell-shaped link. Between the top-most bell-shaped link and the centerpiece carrying the pink diamond, are three intervening diamonds, two rectangular baguette-cut diamonds and a central circular-cut diamond, linked to one another. The entire length of the pearl and diamond pendant is 8.0 cm. The design of this pearl pendant is exactly similar to the design of the pair of Cartier's natural pearl and diamond ear pendants, in which the drop-shaped pearls are also suspended by a line of five overlapping, graduated, bell-shaped links, pave-set with tiny diamonds. It is the striking similarity in the designs that has led to the belief, that the pearl and diamond necklace and the ear-pendants are part of the same parure, designed by Cartier, even though they were put up for sale as different lots at the auctions.
The drop-shaped pearl and diamond pendant of the necklace
The drop-shaped pearl has a weight of 153.89 grains, but the dimensions of the pearl, such as its maximum length and width are not known. The shape of the pearl is more oval than drop-shaped. The color of the pearl appear to be silvery-white or silvery-grey in color, as in the case of the Cartier's natural pearl and diamond ear-pendants. Silver is actually the overtone color of the pearls, and white or grey is the body color. The luster and orient of the pearl are in keeping with its saltwater origin, which is usually greater than that of freshwater pearls. The surface quality of the pearl also appears to be exceptional.
In the table of famous drop-shaped pearls arranged in descending order of weights, given below, the 153.89-grain drop-shaped pearl from Cartier's Natural Pearl, and White and Pink Diamond Necklace occupies the 14th position.
Table of some famous drop-shaped pearls arranged in descending order of weights
|S/N||Name of Pearl||Weight in Carats and Grains||
Shape of Pearl
|Type of Pearl||Color of Pearl|
|1||Hope Pearl||450 carats, 1,800 grains||Baroque drop-shaped||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|2||Imperial Hong Kong Pearl||127.5 carats, 510 grains||Irregular drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|3||Gogibus Pearl||126 carats, 504 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|4||Shah Sofi Pearl||125 carata. 500 graina||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous perl||White|
|5||La Regente||75.67 carats, 302.68 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|6||Pearl of Kuwait||64.35 carats, 257.40 grains||Asymmetrical drop-shape||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|7||Natural Grey/Brown Pearl from a Belle Ãpoque Pendant Necklace||56.81 carats, 227.24 grains||Symmetrical drop-shape||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||Grey/Brown|
|8||La Peregrina||55.95 carats, 223.8 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|9||Sara Pearl||55.0 carats, 220 grains||Drop-shaped||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||Grey|
|10||Shaista Khan's Pearl||55.0 carats, 220 grains||Pear-shaped drop pearl||Saltwater nacreous pearl||White|
|11||Peacock Throne Pearl||50 carats, 200 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater nacreous pearl||Yellow|
|12||Mancini Pearls||50 carats, 200 grains. 50 carats, 200 grains||Drop-shaped pearls||Saltwater nacreous||White|
|13||Moghul Pearls||45.5 carats, 182 grains. 45.5 carats, 182 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater nacreous pearls||White|
|14||Drop-shaped pearl from pendant of Cartier's necklace||38.50 carats,
|Oval-shaped drop||Saltwater nacreous perl||White/Grey|
|15||Drexel Pearl||33.80 carats, 135.2 grains||Symmetrical drop-shape||Saltwater nacreous pearl||Black Tahitian|
|16||La Pelegrina one||33.29 carats, 133.16 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|17||Charles II Pearl||32.5 carats, 130 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|18||Tararequi Pearls||31 carats, 124 grains||Pear-shaped drop||Saltwater, nacreous||White|
|19||Drop-shaped pearls from pendants belonging to an European noble family||Each pearl weighing approximately 30 carats, 120 grains||Asymmetrical drop-shape||Saltwater nacreous||White|
|20||Pair of antique natural pearl and diamond ear-pendants||26.86 carats, 107.44 grains
22.82 carats, 91.28 grains
|Asymmetrical drop-shape||Saltwater nacreous||White with pink overtone|
|21||Drop-shaped pearls from Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants||25.3 carats, 101.2 grains
23.5 carats, 94.0 grains
|22||Paspaley Drop-shaped Pearls||18.75 carats, 75 grains. 18.75 carats, 75 grains||Drop-shaped pearls||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||White|
|23||Finest black pearl in Europe in 1900||12.25 carats, 49 grains||Pear-shaped drop pearl||Saltwater, nacreous pearl||Black pearl with green overtone|
The Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace, and Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants, without any doubt belong to the same parure, as they have similar design features, and make use of the same materials. Some of the common features in both pieces of jewelry are as follows :-
1) Common design features in the ear-pendants and the pendant to the necklace, such as the line of five graduated bell-shaped links, pave-set with tiny diamonds, that suspends the drop-shaped pearls in both.
Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants
2) The use of rectilinear-cut diamonds or baguette cut diamonds and circular-cut diamonds in both pendants, mounted above the line of five graduated bell-shaped links, on the pendants.
3) The use of white gold as the metal in the ear-pendants and the necklace.
4) The use of the same type of settings for the circular-cut and rectilinear-cut diamonds.
Thus, Cartier's Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants were matching pieces to the Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace. In other words they belonged to the same parure. This is confirmed by the fact, that both pieces were said to be the property of a lady, and were assigned lot nos. one after another. While Cartier's Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants was lot no.77 at the auctions, Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace was assigned a lot no. immediately after this, lot 78.
The historic provenance and the period of origin of the Cartier's Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants were not given, but using design features, and materials used the probable period of origin of the ear-pendants was suggested as the early Art Deco period, possibly in the 1920s. The same line of reasoning also applies to the Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace. Some of the Art Deco features seen on the necklace are :-
1) The use of white gold as the metal for designing the necklace, White gold was introduced for the first time in the early 1920s during the Art Deco period, as a cheap substitute for platinum.
2) The use of rectilinear-cut diamonds also known as the baguette-cut, which was popular during the Art Deco period.
3) The white on white color scheme, the main theme of the necklace was a carryover from the previous period, the Belle Ãpoque period or the Edwardian period. The use of white diamonds and pearls on a white metal, platinum, became very popular during the Edwardian period. In the Art Deco period white gold replaced platinum as a cheap substitute. Later in the Art Deco period, the white on white combination was replaced by bold and bright color combinations, in which rubies, emeralds and sapphires were also used. The use of a single pink diamond in the necklace, was the beginning of a new color combination for jewelry pieces of this period.
The pearl appears as silvery-white or silvery-grey in photographs. During the 1920s three main natural pearl fisheries existed in the world. One was in the Persian Gulf in the Middle East, one of the most ancient sources of pearls in the world, known as Oriental peals, based on the oyster species Pinctada radiata, mainly exploited for its pearls. The second was in the waters off western and northwestern Australia, centered around the coastal town of Broome, and based on the oyster species Pinctada maxima, mainly exploited for its mother-of-pearl shells, feeding the world's shell button industry. Natural South Sea pearls produced by this species was only a by product of this industry. The third pearl fishery was situated in the Gulf of California, centered around Baja California, based on the oyster species Pinctada mazatlantica (closely related to Pinctada margaritifera), mainly exploited for its shells, exported to Europe to feed the shell button industry. Natural black/grey pearls produced by this species was a by product of this industry.
Thus, if the drop-shaped pearl in the pendant is a silvery-white pearl, it could have originated in the species Pinctada maxima, based on its size which is around 20-30 mm in length approximately (estimation), and its silvery-white color, the most common color produced by this species, also known as the silver-lipped pearl oyster. If the color of the drop-shaped pearl is silver-grey as it appears in the photograph, it could have originated from the species Pinctada mazatlantica, based on its size, as well the silver-grey color of the pearl, a common color of the pearls produced by this species. Thus, based on these observations, the most probable source of the pearls, is either the waters off western and northwestern Australia or the Gulf of California in Mexico.
The Cartier's Natural Pearl, and White and Pink Diamond Necklace, was lot no. 78, at the Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale" held on May 12, 2010, at the Geneva, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The lot was accompanied by report no.55405, dated January 25, 2010, issued by the Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF), certifying that the drop-shaped pearl is a natural saltwater pearl. Another report bearing no.10229165, dated October 14, 1997 and issued by the GIA, certified that the 2.80-carat circular-cut pink diamond, has a color grade of Fancy Light Pink and a clarity of VS2. A moderate pre-sale estimate of CHF 210,000 - 315,000 (US$ 189,512 - 284,268) was placed on the necklace, but the lot performed beyond all expectations, registering a final hammer price of CHF 795,000 (US$ 717,568), which was 2Â½ times the upper pre-sale estimate and almost 4 times the lower pre-sale estimate. The price recorded was among the highest realized at the auctions, and one of the highest ever recorded for such necklaces at an auction.
Among the possible reasons attributed for the unexpected performance at the auctions, by the Cartier's Natural Pearl, White and Pink Diamond Necklace, and the enhanced price realized by it, are the following :-
1) The antique value of the necklace, possibly originating from the early Art Deco period, or periods prior to it.
2) The incorporation of a 2.80-carat, circular-cut, pink diamond as the centerpiece of the necklace, supported by GIA report that the color grade is Fancy Light Pink and the clarity grade VS2.
3) The incorporation of a natural, saltwater, drop-shaped pearl as a pendant to the necklace weighing 153.89 grains. Such rare and antique natural pearls had commanded premium prices at public auctions recently, and would have no doubt contributed to the enhanced value of the necklace.
4) The incorporation of 3 baguette-cut diamonds and over 30 circular-cut diamonds in the necklace, spectacle-set as a chain. The total weight of these diamonds are not given, but these diamonds have without any doubt contributed significantly, to the enhanced price realized by the necklace.
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1) Christie's Jewels : The Geneva Sale, 1374. Lot 78 - A Pearl, Diamond and Colored Diamond Necklace, Mounted by Cartier. www.christies.com
1) Christie's Jewels : The Geneva Sale, 1374. Lot 78 - A Pearl, Diamond and Colored Diamond Necklace, Mounted by Cartier. www.christies.com
2) Belle Epoque Natural Grey/Brown Pearl Pendant Necklace - www.internetstones.com
Dr Shihaan Larif
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