Lot 65

Five strands of gently graduating pearls, with each strand consisting of pearls alternating with diamond briolette beads, to a diamond-set clasp centring on an oval-shaped spinel. The pearls are well-matched and have a uniform lustre.

Pearl: 283.94 carats
Diamond: 35.44 carats
Gross weight: 70.41 grams
Size: 9.50 mm to 4.0 mm

With report number 022511 dated 18 September 2019 from the Shri Zaveri Mahajan Zaverat & Moti Tolai Charitable Trust stating that the Pearls with dimensions ranging from 9.50 mm to 3.83 mm are natural pearls.

Pearls - one of the nine gemstones or navratna revered in Indian mythology - have been admired since antiquity, appearing in most traditional jewellery. Ancient texts associate pearls with the moon or the deity Chandra, for their soft radiance and satin sheen. In the Mughal era, pearls were ubiquitous among the ruling class, and Emperor Akbar was frequently depicted wearing multi-strand pearl necklaces. Later portraits and accounts of the Maharajas of post-Mughal India, which portrayed them in their royal regalia, show an abundant display of pearls in necklaces, turban ornaments, and other sartorial accessories.

Derived from the Latin "pilula," meaning ball, these gemstones - composed mainly of calcium carbonate and nacre - are created when pearl-forming molluscs attach themselves to rocks on the seabed and remain nourished through gills. They are protected by a shell or mantle containing cells which secrete layers of conchiolin, aragonite and calcite flakes that form an iridescent bed called Mother of Pearl. Pearls are formed in concentric layers when a particle of dust or grit enters a mollusc, around which a sac gradually develops, becoming entombed in the nacre which forms a pearl's outer coat - more of which results in a larger gemstone.

Several factors determine the value of a pearl, including its shape, clarity and lustre. "... Perfectly round, pear-shaped, drop-shaped, egg-shaped or button-shaped" pearls that are evenly formed command a higher value; they should, additionally, have a clear, unblemished and unbroken skin, and possess a lustre and decided tint. (George Frederick Kunz and Charles Hugh Stevenson, The Book of the Pearl: Its History, Art, Science and Industry, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2001, p. 321) In India and Sri Lanka, pearl merchants have developed an elaborate system for grading and valuing these gemstones that has been in use and evolved over centuries. The pearls are first grouped by size by passing them through a series of ten sieves, after which they are classified according to other factors - such as colour, lustre, nacre thickness and surface quality - by a skilled valuer, and, finally, they are weighed. A collection is put together by painstakingly searching for and matching pearls according to their similarities.

Pearls used in traditional Indian jewellery are typically pierced and strung as beads, which is an art that "requires both experience and judgment, and is of great importance, since the value of pearls is often considerably enhanced by a proper arrangement." (Kunz and Stevenson, p. 386) The present lot comprises five strands of natural, well-matched, evenly formed pearls that graduate in size and have a similar lustre, colour and tone, a collection which takes years to assemble.

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  Lot 65 of 174  

15-16 OCTOBER 2019

$128,575 - 171,430
Rs 90,00,000 - 1,20,00,000



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