Famous Pearls in History
Pearls are among the world's oldest gems, and from the time they were first discovered, they have remained some of the world?s most sought-after and most revered gems. Throughout time, there have occasionally been a few pearls discovered that stand out among even these rare gems. Many of these famous pearls, some of them thousands of years old, are still around to be admired today. These pearls are remarkable reminders of the rich pearl history.
The Abernathy Pearl
This 44-grain, natural freshwater pearl, is the most perfect pearl ever found in the rivers of Scotland. A 44-grain natural pearl is a rare find, and even rarer still is to find a pearl of such outstanding quality as the Abernathy. This famous specimen is nicknamed "The Little Willie Pearl".
The Abernathy pearl was discovered in the River Tay in1967 by a professional pearl diver by the name of Bill Abernathy (hence its name and nickname). The pearl was found in an odd-shaped mussel, common to the River Tay.
The Scottish have searched their abundant rivers for centuries seeking prized pearls. Freshwater pearls were indeed found in abundance until the Industrial Revolution polluted the waterways and wreaked havoc on the pearl producing mussel populations. The Abernathy was displayed for nearly 30 years in a jewelry store in the city of Cairncross until it was sold for undisclosed sum in 1992.
The Arco Valley Pearl
Reportedly given to Khubilai Khan, the emperor of China, by Marco Polo, the Arco Valley Pearl is a baroque pearl weighing 575 carats, or 2301 grains, (78 x 41 x 35 mm) and is a white pearl with overtones of pink and brown.
The Big Pink Pearl
Valued in 1991 at $4.7 million US dollars, the Big Pink Pearl is listed in the Guiness book of World Records as being the largest natural abalone pearl ever found. This baroque gem weighs a full 470 carats.
The purported owner of this gem is Wesley Rankin, who found the pearl while diving at California's Salt Point State Park in Petaluma California in 1990.
The Gogibus Pearl
This pear-shaped pearl was the largest know pearl discovered during the early 17th Century off the coast of the West Indies. The gem weighs a hefty 126 carats. It is said that King Philip IV purchased this pearl from a merchant name Gogibus who wore the pearl as a button in his cap in 1620.
The Hope Pearl
Most likely the largest and most famous natural saltwater pearl ever discovered, the Hope Pearl, is an astonishing gem. The pearl weighs 1,800 grains (450 carats), or approximately 4 ounces! The Hope is a white, drop-shaped blister pearl, measuring approximately 2 x 4 inches, and ranging in color from greenish-gold on one end to white on the other.
Currently residing in the British Museum of Natural History, the Hope Pearl was once owned my Henry Philip Hope, the one-time owner of the Hope Diamond.
The Huerfana (Spanish: The Orphan)
The Huerfana was one of the most splendid gems of the Spanish Crown Jewels. Remarkably, it has been reported that this large pearl was not discovered within an oyster, but found in a shell bed in the Gulf of Panama.
The Huerfana was a remarkable pearl because of its perfect shape, large size, and brilliant luster, and was once owned by Do?a Isabel de Bobadilla, the first female governor of Cuba. The Huerfana was reported to have been destroyed, when the Spanish palace burned in the 18th century.
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