Extremely Fine and Very Impressive Pearl and diamond necklace

Composed of nine rows of graduated pearls measuring from 3.4 to 11.8 mm, to a graduated rectangular clasp set with cushion-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in white gold, length from approximately 645mm to 1060mm, each row detaches from the clasp to be worn on its own, Estimate 1,010,000—1,450,000 CHF - Lot sold 1,142,500 CHF

Accompanied by nine SSEF reports nos. 43159 to 43167, dated July 2004, each respectively stating that the pearls are natural.

NOTE: This amazingly beautiful and rare 'plastron' necklace is strung with nine rows of impeccably matched pearls in terms of colour, shape, skin quality and lustre. The even body colour, brightness of the lustre, the perfect roundness of the shape and the soft quality of the nacre are truly remarkable. A true gift of nature and an immensely desirable jewel, it is reminiscent of the best pearl necklaces which appeared in the market a century ago or more. These jewels were part of very famous historical collections in Europe: Empress Eugénie in 1887; Princesse Mathilde Bonaparte in 1904; Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey in 1911; Princess Zénaïde Youssoupov in 1917 and in almost all the great Indian princes treasures: Nawanagar; Baroda; Patiala; Indove; Dhrangadhra and Cooch Behar .

Due to an increasing level of pollution in the Gulf waters since the end of the Second World War, it would probably now be nearly impossible to assemble such a large and perfectly matched set of natural pearls. It may have taken a lifetime of painstaking selection to achieve such a superb 'tour de force' result.

This jewel could well become the centrepiece of any highly sophisticated jewellery collection of worldwide reputation.

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels. 19 Nov 08. Geneva. Photo courtesy Sotheby's. www.sothebys.com