575-ct., 800-year-old Pearl Up for Auction

People on the Internet and invited guests to Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace will be able to bid Thursday on a 3.1-inch-long pearl that has been owned by emperors, kings, and one of the world’s greatest explorers. The 800-year-old “Arco Valley Pearl” is expected to fetch between $6 million to $8 million, The Associated Press reports.

The 575-ct. pearl from 12th century Mongolia was owned by Chinese emperors, Persian kings, the grandson of Genghis Khan, and Marco Polo, the AP reports.

The Internet portion of the auction will be managed by Lifestyle Auctions.

The value of the saltwater pearl is based on its size, color, weight, exclusivity, history, and records of what people have been prepared to pay for similar precious items, the AP reports. The Arco Valley is considered the biggest pearl up for sale in the world.

The natural pearl, named after a previous owner from Austria’s Arco Valley family dynasty, is listed on the auction Web site as “silver white with pint and yellow overtones.”

The AP reports that it has been drilled three times: to fit among the jewels of an unknown woman’s tiara, to go with a ceremonial mandarin suit and to fit a crown or turban decorated with precious stones belonging to a Persian king. It has been restored to its original shape.

Court documents prove the pearl was owned by Kublai Khan, the 13th century emperor of China and grandson of Genghis Khan, the AP reports. Experts believe Kublai Khan gave the pearl to Marco Polo as a gift.

At least 400 people from the Emirates, Gulf countries, China, India, Britain, the U.S. and Tahiti are expected to attend the auction, the AP reports.