World’s Most Expensive Pearls: The Highest Prices Ever Fetched at Auction

Pearls have seen a huge spike in popularity as of late, with the gemstones making regular appearances on Hollywood’s red carpets as well as the high-end fashion runways from New York to Paris to Milan. With their outstanding beauty and graceful, iridescent appearance, it’s not hard to see why. Some beautiful pearls are even considered truly  priceless.

But these next gems of the sea definitely come with a price – an incredibly high one. From single-strand necklaces to lush and opulent pieces owned by duchesses and princes, these are the world’s five most expensive pearl-adorned jewelry  pieces.

  1. The Cowdray Pearls: $3.35 million  USD

Number five on our list comes with a ‘bargain’ price: a mere $3.35 million USD – and it was sold at this value in 2012 at an auction at Christie’s in London. Originally owned by Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson, the Cowdray pearl necklace comes with 38 peacock-colored pearls, plus a gorgeous diamond-enriched clasp, which increases its value. As one of the richest families in Britain in the early 1900s, the Cowdrayswere involved in constructions and oil. Throughout her life, Lady Pearson invested her money in a wide range of art pieces, as well as décor, furniture and expensive jewelry. And her favorite jewelry piece was no other than this single strand pearl necklace that came in a gorgeous color palette, with pearls ranging from iridescent purple to grey, brown and  green.

  1. Duchess of Windsor Single Strand Necklace: $4.8 million  USD

Wallis Simpson, the American socialite turned Duchess of Windsor, is famous for saying the words “You can never be too rich or too thin” – and that certainly rings true when it comes to her jewelry collection. As an avid jewelry aficionado, the duchess spent her entire life amassing an opulent collection of jewels, most of them gifted to her by her husband. The Duke of Windsor, aka the infamous King of the United Kingdom who abdicated the throne to marry the divorced American socialite, offered his wife this ultra-expensive piece as a present. Its value in 2007, when it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction: $4.8 million  USD.

  1. The Baroda Pearl Necklace: $7.1 million  USD

India comes with its very own Wallis Simpson: meet Maharani Sita Devi Sahib of Baroda, who divorced her first husband to marry one of the richest Indian princes: Maharaja Pratapsingh Gaekwar. The bride received a luxurious seven-strand necklace from her new husband as a gift, which was later transformed into a two-strand piece. Back in 2007, the necklace was sold for the price of $7.1 million USD at Christie’s in New  York.

2.The Seven Strand Necklace: $9.1 million  USD

If you love the gems of the sea as much as we do,we’re willing to bet that you’d love to be the owner of this next stunning piece. The second most expensive pearl necklace in the world, subsequent only to Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina is an exquisite piece that was sold in 2013 at Christie’s Geneva for the unbelievable price of $9.1 million USD. The gorgeous creation featured no less than over 600 natural pearls, in addition to a few luxe  diamonds.

1.La Peregrina: $11 million  USD

When it comes to world famous pearls, this next jewelry piece tops the charts. We’re talking about no other than the exquisite La Peregrina pearl, which carries a remarkable history. It once belonged to the Queen of Spain, then later fell into Napoleon’s hands. Back in 1969, actor Richard Burton purchased the famous pearl during an auction for the bargain price of $37,000 USD, then gifted it to his wife Elizabeth Taylor as a Valentine’s Day present. The actress, who was famous for her love of precious jewels, later used the jewel in an opulent necklace enriched with rubies, pearls and diamonds. After the actress’s death in 2011, the Peregrina necklace was sold for $11 million USD at  Christie’s.

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