• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7664

    Contemporary Jewellery and Watches

    29 April 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 166

    A HIGHLY IMPORTANT ORANGE NATURAL PEARL

    Price Realised  

    A HIGHLY IMPORTANT ORANGE NATURAL PEARL
    The yellow to iridescent pinkish orange pearl measuring 21.1 by 19.4 mm and weighing 241.44 grains (60.36 carats), the pearl has not been drilled
    Accompanied by report No. 0127771 dated 07 December 2007 from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) stating that the pearl is natural

    An appendix from Gem-A to the above report states that 'the combination of fine lustre even shape and size in this pearl are noteworthy, but its colour described as 'yellow to pinkish orange' is especially unusual. In normal colour terms, orange can veer towards a red hue (thus 'pinkish') or towards a yellow hue, but the extraordinary way in which the surfaces of fine pearls refract and reflect light (orient and lustre) results here in a remarkable appearance that might best be compared with a dawn sky.'


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Orange Radiance

    The yellow to iridescent pinkish orange pearl in this auction is remarkable on three accounts.

    Firstly, for its exceptionally rare colour. Colour in pearls is derived from the host oyster depending on the type of oyster and the water conditions in which it lives. Most common are shades of white and yellow although almost any colour imaginable can be produced. The Book of the Pearl by Kunz and Stevenson 1908 refers to many different coloured pearls but interestingly it does not mention the colour orange, the closest references being pinkish tones and browns. The orange pearl in this sale is reminiscent of the orange colour of a melo pearl. However this is not a melo pearl, having a far stronger lustre and smoother skin. It is impossible to state that the colour of this pearl is unique but for certain it is exceedingly rare.

    Secondly, the shape of this pearl is exceptional. Technically it is a button pearl owing to the fact that it has one slightly flattened side. However it is very close to being perfectly round. To achieve the perfect shape in a large pearl is rare, be it a round, button or drop shaped example, as almost all are slightly distorted or baroque in form.

    Thirdly, the huge proportions of this pearl make it a highly uncommon specimen. It is the fourteenth largest natural saltwater pearl recorded so far, and the second largest button pearl. The largest button that weighs 452 grains is baroque in shape therefore one can state that the orange pearl in this sale is in terms of size and shape the largest button pearl of gem quality so far recorded and undoubtedly one of the rarest pearls in the world, given its exceptional colour, exceptional shape and exceptional size.

    Special Notice

    lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importation value (low estimate) levied at the time of collection shipment within UAE. For UAE buyers, please note that duty is paid at origin (Dubai) and not in the importing country. As such, duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.


    Saleroom Notice

    The yellow to iridescent pinkish orange pearl is accompanied by a certificate from the GIA stating that it is a freshwater pearl.
    According to Christie's records this makes it the second largest freshwater pearl and the thirteenth largest pearl recorded