Few pearls gave origin to such enthusiasm and even obsession like the internationally known “La Peregrina”.
It is believed that this pear-shaped pearl is one of the most symmetrical natural pearls ever to be found. It is rich in history, glamour and folklore.
From a path to freedom to an extraordinary Valentine’s day gift, this pearl has travelled the world and has a long story to tell.
La Peregrina was originally found in the coast of Panama in the mid of the 16th century. The original finder gave it to Don Pedro de Temez, who at the time was the administrator of the colony of Panama. Temez brought the pearl back to his native country, Spain. He gave it as a present to the future King Filipe II of Spain, who in turn offered it as an engagement present to the Queen Mary I of England.
In her famous portrait by Antonis Mor, dated 1554 and now in the Museum of Prado, in Madrid. We can see the Queen wearing La Peregrina as a pendant, dangling from a brooch.
After her death, in 1558, her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I of England, returned the famous pearl, as a diplomatic gesture, to the Kingdom of Spain. Where it remained as one of the crown jewels for around 250 years, before if fell into the hands of Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1969, Richard Burton paid 37.000 dollars for La Peregrina, at an auction in New York, to give it to his wife Elizabeth Taylor for her 37th birthday.
The pearl was reassembled in a necklace created by Cartier, which the actress used to wear in events and during films.
La Peregrina was auctioned in December 2011 at Christie’s New York, having been sold by 11.842.500 dollars, more than 5 times its estimate, and becoming, at that time, the most expensive jewel with a natural pearl ever to be sold at an auction.