Lot 1796
  • 1796

Very Rare Natural Pearl, Diamond and Black Onyx Necklace

16,000,000 - 19,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Natural Black Pearl, Diamond, Onyx
Composed of forty-one graduated natural grey pearls measuring approximately 14.85 to 5.85mm, alternating with faceted diamond beads and black onyx rondelles, completed by a marquise-shaped diamond clasp, the diamonds weighing approximately 11.00 carats in total, mounted in platinum, length approximately 690mm.


Accompanied by SSEF report numbered 87097, stating that forty-one pearls tested are saltwater natural pearls and with no indications of artificial colour modification. Clasp mounted in platinum as tested. Pearls are of round, ovoid and button-shaped, light greyish brown to brown and grey to brownish grey body colour, very good lustre and orient, some with rosè or green overtones, some with minor surface blemishes but not noticeable when worn. Marquise-shaped diamond weighing approximately 1.50 carats, about G-H colour, VS clarity; and diamond beads weighing approximately 9.50 carats are about H-J colour, VS-SI clarity, some with minor chips; as gauged and graded in the mounting. Clasp with signs of normal wear to the metal, in very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Illustrations in the catalogue may not be actual size. Prospective purchasers are reminded that, unless the catalogue description specifically states that a stone is natural, we have assumed that some form of treatment may have been used and that such treatment may not be permanent. Our presale estimates reflect this assumption.Certificates of Authenticity: Various manufacturers may not issue certificates of authenticity upon request. Sotheby's is not under an obligation to furnish the purchaser with a certificate of authenticity from the manufacturer at any time. Unless the requirements for a rescission of the sale under the Terms of Guarantee are satisfied, the failure of a manufacturer to issue a certificate will not constitute grounds to rescind the sale. Gemological Certificates and Reports: References in the catalogue descriptions to certificates or reports issued by gemological laboratories are provided only for the information of bidders, and Sotheby's does not guarantee and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, terms or information contained in such certificates or reports. Please also note that laboratories may differ in their assessment of a gemstone (including its origin and presence, type and extent of treatments) and their certificates or reports may contain different results.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

Accompanied by SSEF report numbered 87097, dated 3 August 2016, stating that forty-one pearls tested are natural saltwater pearls.  



Natural pearls are amongst the most prized of all gemstones. Since time immemorial, pearls have been considered symbols of power and status, due to their alluring beauty and rarity.

To properly appreciate the timeless beauty of pearls is to understand their serendipitous and natural creation. Unlike crystalline gemstones, pearls emerge as finished products, requiring no cutting or polishing to produce their lustre. Nature’s uncontrollable forces guarantee that each pearl is unique, a reflection of the condition under which it was born. Renowned for their iridescence, radiance and natural beauty, as pearls grow larger, more lustrous and more attractive in colour, their rarity and importance increase exponentially. Today, natural saltwater pearls are even rarer than in the past: as their original sources are nearly depleted, the market has to rely largely on examples harvested decades, even centuries ago.

Of all the pearls, natural black pearls are the rarest and have been the prized possession of the world’s royalty and nobility. Most black pearls are produced by the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster and the pearl’s colour has some affinity with the colour of the shell, relative to the position of the pearl in the oyster and to some extent to the quality of the water which the animal inhabits.

Early lovers of black pearls included Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, who reportedly owned a row of thirty black pearls, the largest weighing 78 grams. Empress Eugenie, Consort of Napoleon III Emperor of France, famous for her large collection of pearl jewels, owned a necklace of large dark grey pearls that was famously reported to have taken years to collect.

Another captivating and distinctive pearl necklace is the Three Strand Black Pearl Necklace which was owned by Anglo-Indian model and style icon, Nina Dyer, wife of Baron Heinrich Thyssen and later of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. Designed by Cartier, the triple-strand natural black pearl necklace is made up of one hundred and fifty-one spherical and near-spherical, perfectly matched natural black pearls.

The most recent coloured natural pearl necklace to appear on the market was that owned by the late Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson. This legendary single strand of natural grey pearls, strung and mounted by Cartier, comprises forty-two exceptionally rare natural grey saltwater pearls well-matched in lustre, shape and size. The exceptional Cowdray pearls sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for USD$5.3million in 2015, setting a world auction record for a natural grey pearl necklace.

Classic, timeless, and extremely chic, Sotheby’s is delighted to present this exquisite strand of natural black pearls at auction.