Best of Birthstones: Pristine Pearls

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Launch Slideshow

Pearls have always exerted a powerful allure. In ancient times, the Greeks believed that pearls were the tears shed by Aphrodite, goddess of love, and the Chinese thought the gem protected the wearer from harm. As evidenced in portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and members of the English court, the Tudors prized these lustrous gems so much that the 16th century came to be known as the Pearl Age. In the modern era, pearls have retained their status, worn by legendary beauties and style icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel. Unlike diamonds, natural pearls emerge fully formed, and the finest are lustrously silky and perfectly round, which makes finding a match an incredible feat. Pearls also vary in shape, size and colour, ranging from a more common cream or pink to rarer shades of black, green, blue and gold. Click ahead for an array of pearl jewels coming to auction, plus one record-setting past lot. –Stephanie Sporn

Summer Jewels Online
30 May–13 June

Fine Jewels
7 June | London

Jewels Online

30 June–14 July

Best of Birthstones: Pristine Pearls

  • The Cowdray Pearls, A highly important, rare and superb natural pearl and diamond necklace, Cartier London; and pair of natural pearl and diamond earclips, mounts by Cartier London. Sold for HK$41,080,000 ($5,300,552).
    Formerly from the collection of Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson, the Cowdray Pearls set a world auction record for a natural grey pearl necklace when selling in October 2015. The Cowdray Pearls first appeared at auction at Sotheby's London in 1937, with a catalogue note stating “there is probably no finer collection of such pearls in existence.”


  • Sodalite, lapis lazuli and seed pearl sautoir. Starting bid £1,200 ($1,539). To be offered in Summertime Jewels Online from 30 May to 13 June.
    In this dazzling necklace, a carved sodalite is at the centre of five strands of seed pearls, gathered at each side with lapis lazuli spacers. 

  • Pair of amethyst, cultured pearl and diamond earclips, Tony Duquette. Estimate $7,000–9,000. To be offered in Jewels Online from 30 June to 14 July.
    These earclips perfectly embody the style of their creator, Tony Duquette, a maximalist whose jewels are distinguished by vivid and unexpected colour combinations 

  • Diamond and cultured pearl necklace, ‘Agrafe’, Cartier. Estimate £7,000–9,000 ($8,975–11,540). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    The central element of this pearl and diamond necklace is designed as a buckle suspending a detachable pendant. 

  • Pair of natural pearl and diamond earrings, circa 1920. Estimate £20,000–30,000 ($25,644–38,466). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Each earring is set with a drop-shaped natural pearl and rose diamonds. 

  • Pair of mabé pearl earclips. Starting bid £300 ($385). To be offered in Summertime Jewels Online from 30 May to 13 June.
    Of roundel design, these earclips are collet-set with a concentric arrangement of mabé pearls. 

  • Cultured pearl and diamond ring. Estimate £4,800–7,500 ($6,155–9,617). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Brilliant cut-diamonds of pink and near colourless tint complement a cultured pearl in this concave design. 

  • Pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings. Estimate £20,000–28,000 ($25,644–35,902). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    These swing-set pendant earrings feature natural pearls and circular- and single-cut diamonds. 

  • Cultured pearl and diamond necklace, David Webb. Estimate $5,000–7,000. To be offered in Jewels Online from 30 June to 14 July.
    A hammered gold clasp accented by round diamonds completes this five-strand cultured pearl necklace. 

  • Cultured pearl, sapphire and diamond bracelet, Nicoletti. Starting bid £1,200 ($1,539).To be offered in Summertime Jewels Online from 30 May to 13 June.
    Four rows of cultured pearls and a calibré-cut sapphire and square diamond clasp form this timeless Nicoletti bracelet. 

  • (Left) Cultured pearl and diamond sautoir, ‘Rolo’, Gianmaria Buccellati. Estimate £5,000–7,000 ($6,411–8,975).
    (Right) Pair of cultured pearl and diamond earrings, ‘Rolo’, Gianmaria Buccellati. Estimate £4,000–6,000 ($5,129–7,693). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    On offer as two separate lots (lots 282 and 283 ), these pearl Gianmaria Buccellati jewels are comprised of textured belcher chain links interspersed with diamonds. 

  • Natural pearl and diamond brooch, René Lalique, early 20th century. Estimate £4,200–6,000 ($5,385–7,693). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Natural pearls in varying hues form this delicate foliate brooch. 

  • Cultured pearl and diamond earrings. Estimate £2,400–4,000 ($3,077–5,129). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Each of these scroll design earrings is set with pear-shaped and baguette diamonds, suspending cultured pearl drops. 

  • Cultured pearl, diamond and lacquer ring, David Webb. Estimate $3,0000–5,000. To be offered in Jewels Online from 30 June to 14 July.
    This ring features two gray cultured pearls in a crossover design accented by marquise and pear-shaped diamonds. 

  • Cultured pearl and diamond necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels, 1970s. Estimate £9,500–14,000 ($12,181–17,951. To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    This twisted design necklace from the 1970s is comprised of three standrs of cultured pearls and a tassel pendant accented with diamond-set drops. 

  • Cultured pearl and garnet necklace, Cartier. Starting bid £2,000 ($2,564). To be offered in Summertime Jewels Online from 30 May to 13 June.
    Designed as a single strand of cultured pearls, this necklace features a central element depicting a dolphin with green garnet eyes. 

  • Pair of natural pearl and diamond earrings. Estimate £2,600–4,200 ($3,334–5,385). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Each earring features a button-shaped natural pearl within a millegrain-set frame. 

  • Natural pearl and diamond brooch, circa 1910 Estimate £20,000–35,000 ($25,644–44,877). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    From a noble family, this brooch suspends a drop-shaped natural pearl from a millegrain-set plaque. 

  • Natural pearl and diamond pendent necklace, early 20th century, composite. Estimate £2,600–3,500 ($3,334–4,488). To be offered in Fine Jewels on 7 June in London.
    Highlighting this natural pearl necklace is a chain accented with seed pearls. 

  • Pair of cultured pearl and diamond earclips, David Webb. Estimate $3,500–4,500. To be offered in Jewels Online from 30 June to 14 July.
    In addition to a necklace and ring, these earclips are another David Webb creation on offer in our Jewels Online sale this summer. 

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