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Pearl Necklace of Rare Oversized Mississippi River Pearls
Before diamonds came along and stole the spotlight, it was pearls that the monarchs of Europe and the Middle East valued above all else. Look at old portraits of royalty; look at Elizabeth I. No wonder: pearls are genuinely rare. And American river pearls have always been held in the highest esteem for their fascinating organic shapes, rich luster, and soft, luminous coloring. It's like wearing a necklace of unicorns. The Mississippi River does not produce pearls like this any longer. This is a necklace made out of something breathtakingly beautiful that is simply gone forever. This 15" necklace of eight (8) rather enormous and dense, luminous and lustrous natural baroque river pearls from the Unio Species is a jewel of unparalleled luxury and scarcity, weighing in at 29 grams. These Mississippi River pearls are massive. Granted, the buttery 18k gold chain is substantial but it's air compared to the weight of these impressive, precious and exceedingly rare pearls. The approximate conservative dimensions of each pearl are as follows: 13.29 mm x 11 72 mm; 13.79 mm x 14.95 mm; 12.87 mm x 13.13 mm; 17.75 mm x 13.10 mm; 14.43 mm x 17.49 mm; 13.71 mm x 16.38 mm; 12.68 mm x 14.19 mm; 12.81 mm x 13.42 mm. They are white, soft gray, soft pink, soft gold. The chain itself is 2.5 mm thick. It's a clever length, too, fifteen-inches: double it and it's the perfect size for a bracelet. That is a very British thing: a tiara that unfolds into a necklace; a pendant that transforms into a brooch. And this necklace of American pearls may well be English in origin because the gold has taken on the richness I associate with old Welsh gold. Plus, many (most) of our magnificent river pearls did make their way to Europe. Alas, this is pure speculation on my part. I can find no maker's mark. While this necklace may be Victorian, it's certainly not stuffy. Wear it as the shortest layer among several other necklaces; or as a bracelet; or by itself with your new pixie haircut. Pearls look beautiful against skin of all colors. And these are not round pearls; they have roiling organic shapes, almost like wave crests frozen in time. Magnificent doesn't begin to describe them. In fact, some jewels defy being pinned to the table with mere words. These pearls, one must touch, one must allow them to slide through the fingers, feel them around the neck. They are experienced as much as they are worn. They are a treasure so rare you will almost certainly never see them on another living soul. The chain is 18K, the clasp a later replacement of lesser karat and of no remarkable design whatsoever and it doesn't matter in the slightest. You could replace the clasp with something finer if you wanted. But why would you? There is no such thing as a clasp that can "dress up" this necklace. You could close it with a paper clip and it would not matter. Because it's the pearls. They're everything. If you can find them from pearl dealers —and that's a big "if"— you can expect to pay around $8,000 each for pearls of this size and quality. This miracle of a necklace has been locked in the dark for decades and the time has come for this treasure to see the light of day. Pearls this magnificent must adorn a neck, period. Each individual pearl is a natural work of art. This is an important and incomparable necklace.
- In the Style Of
- Place of OriginUnknown
- Date of ManufactureCirca 1835-1855
- Condition DetailsExcellent condition. Pearls are undamaged and lustrous. The chain is 18K gold, the clasp is a latter replacement of lower karat.
- WearWear consistent with age and use.
- DimensionsD 15 in.D 381 mm
- Length15 in. (381 mm)
- Weight29 g
- Seller LocationSouthbury, CT
- Reference NumberLU158916752521
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About the Seller
5 / 5
1stdibs seller since 2019
Typical response time: 1 hour
Located in Southbury, CT
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$2,890 Sale Price
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