Lot 40
Quick Zoom

Designed as fifteen strands of 3010 gently graduated pearls, weighing 681.56 carats in total, ranging from 7.97 mm to 1.90 mm in size, joined by an adjustable silk cord

'Between 1524 and 1658, a period popularly known as the "Pearl Age" in Europe, the Portuguese reaped an untold fortune from the pearl fisheries of India and exploited them to such an extent that it was only a matter of time before they were depleted and finally abandoned.' (Dr. Usha R. Bala Krishnan, Saffronart Inaugural Online Auction of Fine Jewels and Watches, Prodon Enterprises, 7-8 Oct. 2008. 108-109.)

The pearl fisheries referred to here are the famed Mannar fisheries to the south of India, once regarded as a source of the finest and most exquisite pearls in the ancient world. Yet due to their depletion, it was not long before the Basra pearls, eponymously named after their centre of export in the southeast of Iraq, were placed on the pedestal.

'The waters around the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf yielded untold quantities of fabulous pearls that are even today prized as Basra pearls...To the Mughal emperors, the allure of pearls was irresistible... Miniature paintings of the Mughal emperors bear testimony to strands of pearls strung with emerald and ruby beads and draped around the head, neck arms and waist. The breathtaking enumeration of Jahangir's imperial treasury by William Hawkins in 1611 records that there was no less than 300 kilos or 1.5 million carats of pearls. ' (Ibid.)

Basra pearls are the epitome of brilliance, grandeur and elegance, and are often reflective of an era bygone. This is probably due to the fact that although they were once found in abundance, their numbers have dwindled over centuries. With the increase in the exploration and trade of natural resources from the region in the 20th century, the supply of Basra pearls was estimated to be extinguished some time during the 1940s. Basra pearls continue to be among the rarest and most precious gems in the world with their collectors always in search of these fine "flowers to the gods" (Ibid).

  Lot 40 of 57  

15 APRIL 2015


Winning Bid
Rs 57,50,000

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)

15 Row Pearl Necklace


Need help? Please check our guides on How to Bid. Auction Tips and FAQs.
Email [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Tel: +91 22 6855 4100 (Mumbai); +1 212 627 5006 (USA); +44(0) 20 7409 7974(UK); +91 95555 84229 (New Delhi)