STORIED 16TH CENTURY PEARL FROM THE COLLECTION OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR SETS NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD STORIED 16TH CENTURY PEARL FROM
THE COLLECTION OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR
SETS NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD
FOR ANY PEARL JEWEL AT US$ 11.8 MILLION
News-Antique.com - Dec 13,2011 - New York — The extraordinary beauty, rarity and provenance of the pearl known as “La Peregrina” inspired a fierce bidding battle at Christie’s New York at the opening auction of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. Estimated at $2-3 million, the pearl reached a world auction record price for a pearl at $11,842,500 (£ 7,579,200 / € 9,118,725) after four and a half minutes of bidding. The pearl, an historic 16th century pear-shaped pearl suspended from a necklace custom-designed for Ms. Taylor by Cartier, has been widely heralded as one of Elizabeth Taylor’s most iconic jewels.
The price with premium for La Peregrina surpasses the previous world auction record for a pearl jewel, set in 2007 at Christie’s New York with the sale of The Baroda Pearls for $7,096,000.
La Peregrina is a remarkable pearl of 203 grains in size – equivalent to 50 carats – that was first discovered in the 1500s in the Gulf of Panama. King Philip II of Spain was among the first recorded owners of the pear-shaped pearl, which later passed on to the Spanish queens Margaret and Elisabeth, who proudly wore the pearl in 17th century portraits painted by Velázquez himself.
Richard Burton famously purchased the pearl for Elizabeth Taylor at auction in 1969 for $37,000, after successfully outbidding a member of the Spanish Royal family. Inspired by a 16th century portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, Ms. Taylor later commissioned Cartier to design an exquisite new mount of matched natural pearls and rubies to offset what she called “the most perfect pearl in the world.”
At the Christie’s auction on December 13, La Peregrina sold to a client on the phone after an inspired round of competitive bidding involving more than 20 bids. The lot opened at $2 million and quickly jumped to $4 million and on from there, with clients shouting out bids in increments of $1 million or more. Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s America, took the winning bid.
The Evening Sale of legendary jewels from Elizabeth Taylor comprises 80 items in total, and will be followed by two day-sale sessions on December 14, with 190 more jewels on offer. Complete results will be available upon the sale’s completion. Follow the auction in real time at christies.com (requires registration).
Christie’s, the world’s leading art business had global auction and private sales in the first half of 2011 that totaled £2.0 billion/$3.2 billion. In 2010 it achieved global auction and private sales of £3.3 billion/$5.0 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s