November 18, 2020

  This pearl once gave freedom to a slave and has the title of the most expensive pearl in the world! The Wandering Pearl of Peregrina is a pear-shaped pearl weighing 55.95 carats. There are many romantic stories connected with the Peregrina pearl.

  When it came out of the shell it set a man free who could not count on it any longer. In the twentieth century it became the center of one of the most fatal love stories. In the sixteenth century, it fished out of the waters of the Bay of Panama by a black slave from the Pearl Islands. When the owners of the slave saw the pearl, they gasped; it was the most beautiful thing the ocean had ever given them. The shape of the pearl was pear-shaped, perfectly regular, and its color was milky-white and almost transparent. Legend has it that a slave set free for such an exquisite catch. Don Diego Temes presented the pearl to the King of Spain, Philip II; a gift worthy of a king! Soon after, Philip gave it to his bride, the future Queen of Spain and England, Mary Tudor - Bloody Mary. There are several portraits showing Mary with the beautiful pearl resting on the queen's chest. Sometimes the queen used the jewel as a brooch. But after Maria's death, the pearl returned to the Spanish treasury as the property of the Spanish crown. But Maria could be proud of the fact that she established a tradition - henceforth all the Spanish queens posed for ceremonial portraits exactly with the pear-shaped pearl of Mary on the chest. A particularly famous equestrian portrait of Queen Margarita by Diego Velázquez shows the perfect pearl on the chest of the royal rider. After the Habsburg dynasty the jewel passed into the hands of the Spanish Bourbons.

In 1808, Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother, became King of Spain, and five years later, he fled the country when he donated the Pearl to Hortensia, Napoleon's stepdaughter and the wife of his younger brother, Louis. It was then that the pearl named La Peregrina - which means "The Wanderer." Peregrina inherited by Louis Napoleon, who later became the French emperor under the name Napoleon III. He sold the pearl in desperate need of money. The Marquis of Abercon, of the Scottish Hamilton family, became the new owner, or rather his wife Louise Russell. Twice the couple lost Peregrina and both times in the royal chambers, first at Buckingham Palace and then at Windsor Castle. It's not that Louise was so absent-minded, it's just that she loved the pearl and wore it often, and the weight of the jewelry was too much for the setting. Eventually the top of the pearl drilled and attached to the family necklace. It turned out that in four centuries the pearl "traveled" from America to Spain, then to England, again to Spain, France and again to England. 

  In the twentieth century Peregrina once again lived up to her name by going to the United States - to the city of dreams, Los Angeles. In 1969, the Duke of Abercrombie sold the pearl at Sotheby's auction. The buyer has paid for the elegant jewel 37 thousand dollars. It turned out to be the British actor Richard Burton, and Peregrine was intended to his wife, the famous Elizabeth Taylor. In the midst of it was their crazy ten-year marriage. I must say that later the couple divorced, but not for long. Soon they married again - and again not for long. After the final quarrel and almost Italian divorce, Peregrina, of course, stayed with Taylor. Subsequently, the actress, also nearly lost her pearl. It decided to be chewed up by the diva's favorite puppy. After the incident, Elizabeth did the same as Louise Russell - she ordered the pearl to remade in her necklace. A special necklace made in this purpose-not to put Peregrine in the first necklace she could find. A beautiful and expensive necklace of pearls, diamonds, and rubies commissioned from the French jewelry company Cartier. The pear-shaped Peregrine turned into a pendant to complete the pendant necklace. The necklace was so heavy and rich that it looked almost garish. But, Elizabeth Taylor could be forgiven for her love of too flashy things and loud acts. In 2005, Taylor allowed her incomparable necklace to be on display at the Smithsonian Institution. However, we can’t say that before that she hid it - there are thousands of photos in which Peregrina together with her expensive "frame" sparkles on such a famous chest. After the death of the actress in 2011, the necklace was sold at Christie's auction for a fabulous sum of 11.8 million dollars. This instantly made Peregrina the most expensive pearl in the world. Though that title is not entirely fair - as a Cartier necklace setting is worth something, too.


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