THE UNIVERSAL COMPENDIUM of Lists







Notable Pearls

Name
Discovered
Description
Ownership/History
Abernethy Pearl
(aka 'Little Willie Pearl' or 'Bill's Pearl')
Scotland
· 43.6 grains
· 11.5 mm diameter
· freshwater
· hint of lilac
· Cairncross jewellery shop, Perth, Scotland
Charles II Pearls
1691, America?
 
· presented to Charles II of Spain by the Conde de Palmer of the Canary Islands
· with 'La Peregrina', worn as earrings by the successive queens of Spain
· destroyed in a fire, 1734
Charles the Bold Jewel
 
· includes three ½ inch diameter pear-shaped pearls (approx. 60 grains each) and one large ovate pearl
· Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (d. 1477)
· sold by a soldier to a Swiss government official
· sold to Jacob Fugger
· passed to Emperor Maximilian II
· passed to Henry VIII of England
· passed to Mary I of England
· given to her husband, King Philip of Spain
· finally restored to a descendant of the original owner
Cleopatra Pearls
 
· two pearls used as earrings
· Cleopatra swallowed one, as told by Pliny
· after her death, the other was cut in two and used to adorn the Venus statue in the Pantheon of Rome
Gogibus Pearl
West Indies
· 504 grains
· pear-shaped
· brought to Europe by François Gogibus, 1620
· he sold it to Philip IV of Spain
· Princess Yousoupoff
Great Southern Cross
1886, Australia
· nine large, united pearls forming a cross
· Vatican
Hope Pearl
 
· 1800 grains
· irregular pear-shaped
· baroque
· white-green colour
· London banker Henry Philip Hope
· sold by Christie's, 1886
· owned by Messrs. Garrard & Company of London
La Huerfana
(aka 'La Sola')
1515, Tararequi, Panama Gulf
· 124 grains
· pear-shaped
· acquired from Tararequi indians
· sold by Gaspar de Morales to a merchant
· sold it to Pedrarias de Avila
· passed eventually to Emperor Charles V
La Pellegrina*
 India
· 111.5 grains
· rounded
· silvery colour
· taken to Moscow by the Zozima brothers (18th century) who had purchased it from an English admiral that had returned from India
· in the possession of the Princess Youssoupoff
La Peregrina
(aka 'Philip II Pearl')
1560?, Panama? or 1574? Venezuela?
· 134 grains
· pear-shaped
· found by a slave in Panama or found in the Venezuelan fisheries
· presented to Philip II of Spain, 1560
· purchased by Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor, 1969
La Régente
 
· 337 grains
· mounted into the tiara of the French Empress Marie Louise, 1811
· mounted into a brooch by Napoleon, 1853
· purchased by the Princess Yousoupoff, 1887
La Reine de Perles*
India
· 111½ grains
· round
· purchased from gem-dealer Bazu, 1699
· stolen with other French Crown Jewels, 1792
Mancini Pearl
· two pearls, 200 grains each
· drop-shaped
· given to Queen Henrietta Maria of England by her husband, Charles I
· sold to Louis XIV
· he gave it to Maria Mancini
· purchased by Christie's New York, 1979
Nordica Pearl
· 175 grains
· abalone drop-pearl
· greenish hue, red-colour
· American opera singer Madam Nordica
The Orange Pearls
· three strings
· inherited by Frederick I, King of Prussia, 1703
Oviedo Pearl
1515?, Panama Gulf
· 104 grains
· probably acquired by Gaspar de Morales from the Tararequi indians
· purchased by Gonzalo de Oviedo
· this is probably the Morales/Pizarro pearl thought to be amongst the Austrian Crown Jewels
Pearl of Asia
· 2,420 grains
· baroque
· Emperor of China, 16th century
· bought by Foreign Missions of Paris, 1918
Queen Elizabeth Pearls
· four drop-shaped
· Elizabeth I of England
Queen Pearl
(aka Tiffany Queen Pearl)
1857, New Jersey

· 93 grains
· sphere
· freshwater
· pinkish colour

· found by shoemaker David Howell
· purchased by Tiffany & Co
· later sold to the Empress Eugénie
· currently displayed at the University of Pennsylvania
Thiers Pearl Necklace
 
· 145 pearls in three rows
· 2,079 grains (aggregate)
· wife of President Thiers of France
· bequeathed to the Louvre
Van Buren Pearls
 
· two pendant pearls, approx. 30 grains each
· a necklace with 148 pearls, 700 grains (aggregate)
· presented to President Van Buren by the Imam of Muscat, 1840
· held in the Treasury Department vaults until transfer to the National Museum

Notes

* La Reine des Perles was probably renamed La Pellegrina.

Sources


Kunz, G. F. and C. H. Stevenson. The Book of the Pearl. New York: The Century Co., 1908.

Manutchehr-Danai, M. Dictionary of Gems and Gemology, 3rd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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