Federico Fellini said that the pearl is the autobiography of the oyster. Pearls indeed are unusual since they are made from a living creature. The perfect pearl is rare. Some famous examples of famous pearls include:
- The Pearl of Allah
- La Peregrina Pearl
- The Arco Valley Pearl
- The Abernathy Pearl
- The Big Pink Pearl
- The Gogibus Pearl
- The Huerfana
- The Hope Pearl
- The Jamon Pearl
- The Imperial Hong Kong Pearl
The rarest color for a pearl is blue. When blue-shaded pearls occur naturally, they are extremely expensive. The blue overtones in a pearl can vary from light aquamarine to deep dark blue.
Leading ladies who always wore pearls include Queen Elizabeth, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, and Grace Kelly. You will rarely see a picture of these ladies without a string of pearls.
The rarest pearl in the world is the Melo Melo. This pearl was produced by a sea snail and not an oyster or mollusk. The Melo Melo has a shimmery surface with patterns of light moving across the surface.
Famous Pearls of the World
The Pearl of Allah is also known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu. The Pearl of Allah is the largest natural pearl in the world and was found in the Philippines. It was given to Milburn Cobb when he saved the life of the chief’s son.
The pearl weighs more than 14 pounds and is about ten inches across. It is a spectacular specimen from the sea.
La Peregrina Pearl was found in Panama in the 1500s and given to King Phillip II of Spain. He gave it to his wife, Queen Mary, who called the pearl the Wanderer.
The pearl weighs almost 56 carats and is a pear shape. After Queen Mary died, the pearl went to other queens of France and finally to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Richard Burton bought the pearl for Elizabeth Taylor as a Valentine's Day gift. Elizabeth had it placed on a distinctive necklace with diamonds and rubies. The beauty of this necklace started a trend of famous women wearing pearls.
The La Peregrina Pearl sold for $11 million at a recent action.
The second-largest natural pearl found is the Arco Valley Pearl. Marco Polo once owned the Arco Valley Pearl. He received the pearl from Kubilai Khan, a Mongolian emperor. It does not reside in a museum but is owned by a European company.
The Arco Valley Pearl is white, 575 carats, and a natural bister baroque pearl. It does have pink and yellow overtones.
The Abernathy Pearl is a freshwater pearl. It was found in the River Tay in Scotland in 1967 and is named after the diver who found the pearl, Bill Abernathy. The Abernathy Pearl is considered to be perfect.
Since the Abernathy Pearl was found in Scotland, the pearl is highly unique. Not many pearls are produced in the River Tay because the river has become extremely polluted since the Industrial Revolution. Pearls need clear, clean water to form, so how this pearl even formed makes it rare.
The pearl rested in a jewellery store in Cairncross for 30 years and was sold in 1992. No one knows who owns the Abernathy Pearl today.
The Big Pink Pearl, made by an abalone, was uncovered by Westly Rankin, who was diving at Salt Point State Park in Petaluma, California. Rankin still owns the pearl and refuses to sell it. In 1991, the pearl was valued at $47 million.
The pearl weighs 470 carats and is naturally pink in color. The pearl was made by the pink abalone Haliotis corrugate or the red abalone Haliotis rufescens. Both of these species of abalone have pink-coloured mother-of-pearl lining the inner surface of their shells.
The Gogibus Pearl is a very mysterious gem. It was discovered by a Spanish merchant named Gogibus in 1960 and was sold to King Philip IV. No one knows where the pearl is today, but it may be in a private collection somewhere.
The Gogibus Pearl, found in the West Indies, is a white, ear-shaped saltwater pearl. It weighs 126 carats and was once worn as a decoration on Philip IV’s crown.
The Huerfana was part of the Spanish crown jewels and was owned by Dona Isabel de Bobadilla. Dona Isabel was the first female governor of Cuba. The Huerfana was a large pearl with a perfect shape and incredible luster. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the 18th century when the Spanish palace burned.
The Hope Pearl is a saltwater pearl measuring almost two inches by four inches and weighs 450 carats. The pearl has a greenish-gold color at the bottom, and the color transcends to a pure white at the top. It is one of the largest natural pearls ever found.
The Hope Pearl has a very irregular shape and was firmly attached to a mollusk shell until Philip Hope polished the end. He then mounted the pearl on an attractive crown of red enamelled gold set with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. The pearl was sold at auction at Christie’s in 1886 to Messrs. Gerrard & Company of London. You can purchase the Hope Pearl for $12,557 US.
The Jomon Pearl is about 5,000 years old and is one of the oldest known pearls in existence; however, there have since been pearls found that are much older. The pearl is a national treasure of its native Japan.
The Imperial Hong Kong Pearl is a baroque pearl the size of a robin’s egg and weighs 127.5 carats. The Imperial Hong Kong Pearl was owned by Chinese royalty and is a gorgeous silvery white with a teardrop shape. Currently, the pearl is set in a platinum pendant with a diamond.
The pearl was originally owned by the Chinese Empress Dowager Tz’u-His and is one of the largest nacreous pearls discovered. Empress Tz’uHsi ruled the Manchu Qing Dynasty from 1861 until she died in 1908. At the time of her death, the pearl was placed inside her mouth and buried. In 1928, the Empress’s grave was opened, and the pearl took a journey to Hong Kong.
Pearls are exceptional gemstones and are the only gem material formed within a living creature. Pearls, unlike diamonds, need no cutting or polishing before they can be used. They are stunning in their natural form and prized for their uniqueness.