Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendants from the Collection of an European Noble Family

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Several natural pearl and diamond jewelry pieces from the collections of European noble families featured at the recently concluded Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" Sale, held in Geneva, on May 11, 2010, and registered prices much above the pre-sale estimated values, indicating the recovery of the auction market for various types of jewelry, after the recent global economic recession. This webpage is dedicated  to one such piece, a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendants, that was assigned lot no. 366 at the auctions, and became famous by registering a price 6 to 10 times higher than its modest pre-sale estimate of US$ 20,000 to 30,000. The pair of pearl and diamond pendants was one of 10 lots from the same European noble family, that featured at the auctions.

 

Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendants - Lot 366

Features of the natural pearl and diamond pendants

The lot consists of a pair of diamond and pearl pendants. Each pendant is made up of a baroque drop-shaped pearl, with a metal cap carrying a hook, and mounted with single-cut diamonds fixed at the narrow end of the pearl. The two pearls are almost identical in size and shape, but the left pearl pendant appears to be slightly shorter in length than the right one, as seen in the photograph. The pearls are not perfect drop-shaped pearls, but slightly baroque in shape and outline. The right pearl has a somewhat more regular shape than the left one, which bulges more towards one side. The dimensions of the pearl, such as the length, and the shortest and longest diameters are not given. The individual weight of the pearls are also not given, but only the combined weight of the two pendants including the diamond mounted metal caps, which is given as 12 grams, equivalent to 60 carats or 240 grains. Assuming that the pearls are almost identical, the approximate weight of each pearl is 120 grains. The color of the pearls are white, the most sought after color in pearls, with a brilliant luster and orient, in keeping with its saltwater origins. The surface quality of the pearls are also excellent. It is the exceptional qualities of color, luster and orient that has enhanced the value of these drop-shaped pearls, despite their shape being somewhat baroque. The provision of a hook for the pearl pendants enables their use as pendants to a pair of earrings, or as pendants to a necklace or chain.

Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendants from the collection of a European Noble Family

Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendants from the collection of a European Noble Family

© Sotheby's

The diamond and pearl pendants register a price 10 times the lower presale estimate and 6 times the upper presale estimate

A modest pre-sale estimate of 20,000 to 30,000 CHF (US$ 17,300-26,000) was placed on the pair of diamond and pearl pendants, but prospective buyers who had the opportunity of seeing the pearl pendants before they were auctioned, were convinced that the estimate placed on it was too low, and the pendants were actually more valuable than the estimate placed on them, given their natural origins, even though without a clear-cut historical provenance. As expected there was a keen bidding for the pair of pearl and diamond pendants, and the hammer was finally brought down in favor of an anonymous buyer for  194,500 CHF, equivalent to US$ 168,500, which was almost 10 times the lower pre-sale estimate and 6 times the upper pre-sale estimate. The price of 194,500 CHF registered for the pair of pearl pendants, was a record price for a pair of drop-shaped natural pearls in the range of 120 grains.    

 

Some of the natural pearl and diamond ear pendants sold at previous auctions

1) Marie Mancini pearl and diamond ear pendants

The Marie Mancini pearl and diamond ear pendants, incorporating two fine drop-shaped pearls weighing approximately 200 grains each, and with a historic provenance of over 400 years, appeared at a public auction at Christie's in New York, in October 1979, and was sold for US$ 253,000.

Mancini Pearl Ear Pendants

Mancini Pearl Ear Pendants

 

2) Pair of antique natural pearl and diamond ear pendants

A pair of antique natural pearl and diamond ear pendants, incorporating a near-spherical pearl and a drop-shaped pearl in each pendant, weighing 40.92 grains and 107.44 grains in one, and 39.96 grains and 91.28 grains in the other, was sold for US$ 217,000, above the pre-sale estimate of US$ 180,000-250,000, at the Christie's Contemporary Jewelry and Watches Sale, that was held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, in Dubai, UAE, on April 29, 2008.

Pair of antique pearl and diamond ear pendant

Pair of antique pearl and diamond ear pendant

©Christie's

 

3) Fine pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants

A fine pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants, each 4.2 cm long combining a drop-shaped pearl and marquise-cut diamond. the two drop-shaped pearls with dimensions of 15 x 9.38 mm and 14 x 9.23 mm respectively, was sold for US$ 157,000, above the pre-sale estimate of US$ 60,000-80,000, at the Christie's Contemporary Jewelry and Watches Sale, held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, in Dubai, UAE, on April 29, 2008.

A fine pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants

A fine pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants

©Christie's

 

 Some of the natural pearl and diamond ear pendants sold at public auctions and the prices realized

S/N Name of Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants Weight of the Pearls Dimensions Auction House and Year of Salle Price Realized at the Auction
1 Marie Mancini pearl and diamond ear pendants Each pearl weighing approx. 200 grains not known Christie's, New York, October 1979 US$ 253,000
2 Pair of Antique Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants 107.44 grains

91.28 grains

21.1 mm x 14.3 mm

21.18 mm x 13.45 mm

Christie's, Dubai, April 29, 2008 Presale estimate US$ 180,000-250,000.

Price realized US$217,000

3 Fine Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants not known 15 mm x 9.38 mm

14 mm x 9.23 mm

Christie's Dubai, April 29, 2008 Presale estimate US$ 60,000-80,000

Price realized US$ 157,000

4 Pair of Diamond and Pearl Pendants Each pearl weighing approx. 120 grains not known Sotheby's, Geneva, May 11, 2010 Presale estimate US$ 17,300-26,000

Price realized US$ 168,500

 

A comparison of the prices realized by the four pairs of pearl and diamond pendants listed above

The pair of diamond and pearl pendants listed in the 4th row in the above table, is the subject of this webpage. The price of US$ 168,500 realized for this pair of pearl pendants, seems to be consistent with the prices realized for the pair of pearl pendants listed in the 2nd and 3rd rows. The price of US$ 253,000 realized for the Marie Mancini pearl and diamond pendants, 30 years ago in 1979, seems to be too low given the 400 year-old historic provenance of the pearls and the quality and weight of the perfect drop-shaped pearls incorporated in them. However, this was a period when the strong auction market for natural pearls had not picked, and the price realized is consistent with the demand of the period. The strong auction market for natural and historic pearls, began only around the turn of the new millennium, with the sale of the Barbara Hutton pearl necklace for US$ 1.47 million in 1999. The trend still continues and prices realized by pearl pendants listed in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rows is a reflection of this trend. Whenever, the Marie Mancini pearls come up for re-auction, it will undoubtedly follow the new trend, and register a new price much higher than the 1979 price.

 

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

 

Related :-

1) Marie Mancini Pearls

2) Pair of Antique Natural Pearl  and Diamond Ear Pendants

3) Fine Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants

 

External Links :-

1) Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale, Geneva, May 11, 2010. Lot 366, Diamond And Pearl Pendants. www.sothebys.com

 

References :-

1) Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale, Geneva, May 11, 2010. Lot 366, Diamond And Pearl Pendants. www.sothebys.com

 


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