Natural pearl prices are booming according to Professional Jeweller's 2013 report. Christie’s head of jewellery in London Keith Penton explains: “We have seen a steady rise in the price of natural pearls over 10 years and a more marked shift upwards in the last three.” Natural pearls are exceeding the pre-auction price estimates. The head of Bonhams London jewellery department Bryony Meredith dubs natural pearls a ‘big success of the last few years’.
A perfect example was the May 2013 auction of Gina Lollobrigida’s jewelry. In the 1950s and 1960s, Gina was a high profile European actresses. Her jewelry was auctioned at Sotheby's Geneva. One stunning piece of jewelry was a pair of natural pearl and diamond earrings which netted $2.5 million. Again, this amount well exceeded its pre-auction estimate and it is believed because of the value of the pearls. (Of interested, she donated $5 million of the proceeds from her jewelry auction to stem cell research.)
Professional Jeweller states that Bonham's is seeing some natural pearl jewelry pieces, "achieving 10 times their estimate at auction." Wow! Ten times their estimate! So, what is going on? Well, a lot of it has to do with the water pollution and overfishing of pearl producing mollusks. There are just not as many natural pearls being discovered these days! If you haven't yet, read the story of the Tennessee River pearl diver who has discovered only 3 pearls in 18 months of diving.
Bonham's September 17th auction brought huge prices for natural pearl strands. A natural pearl necklace, with 75 pearls and a diamond clasp was auctioned for US$ 317,199. Another three strand necklace was auctioned for US$ 150,000.
So, get your natural pearl jewelry to auction! Or, better yet, hold onto them! I do not see this trend in rising natural pearl prices slowing down anytime soon!
September 18, 2014