Brilliant, October 2015: A Pearl Necklace Fit for a Maharaja

Sold for $580,182

“Natural pearls are extremely rare nowadays,” says Chiang Shiu Fung, associate vice president and specialist at Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry department. Add Colombian emerald beads and this 12-strand necklace is rarer still. But the clincher—and the detail that hints at its Indian origins, to which Chiang attributes the jewel’s “Old World charm”—is a pendant of table-cut and vari-cut diamonds, painted in polychrome enamel florals, ending in an outsized emerald drop. As with a delectable dish or perfectly appointed room, the elements combine to create something truly extraordinary: a piece that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. And speaking of sums, the necklace sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in June for more than twice its highest estimate.

Natural pearls with emerald beads, a table-cut diamond pendant reverse-set in enamel, vari-cut diamond surmount, and emerald drop, in silver and gold

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