Some Interesting News...
An interesting pearl auction will soon take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. One of the world's largest natural pearls, the Arco Valley Pearl, is being offered for sale. The auction house Lifestyle Auctions suggests in the catalog that this famous pearl might bring $6 to $8 million.
Here's a description of the event from Lifestyle Auctions' homepage:
Featuring:The auction was supposed to take place today (May 3, 2007), but due to a death in the Abu Dhabi royal family, it has been postponed. This unfortunate and unforeseen complication does allow anticipation and interest to continue building until the auction finally happens.
A SPECTACULAR EVENING AND AUCTION OF EXCLUSIVE PEARLS;
AN EVENT OF AFFLUENCE, SOPHISTICATION, STYLE AND BEAUTY.
A GLORIOUS REVIVAL OF PEARLS INTERNATIONALLY AND LOCALLY, REPOSITIONING ABU DHABI ON THE INTERNATIONAL MAP OF THE PEARL INDUSTRY AS AN ACTIVE CENTRE.
All of the 24 auction lots are pearls. Some of the pearls are set, some are loose, some are small, some are large, and one is HUGE! The huge one is, of course, the Arco Valley Pearl. Can you imagine? It is 3.1 inches long, and it weighs 575 carats (115 grams or a little over 4 ounces.)
The Arco Valley Pearl has a wonderful history that dates back to the 12th century in Mongolia. In a list of famous pearls, it says that the Arco Valley Pearl was "offered by Marco Polo to Khubilai Khan, emperor of China." However, most current newspaper articles about the pearl are saying that Kublai Khan gave the pearl to Marco Polo as a gift.
The pearl is named for the Arco Valley of Austria where a prominent family owned it. The whereabouts of the pearl during the centuries between Marco Polo and the Austrian family are unknown.
The current owner of the pearl is an Abu Dhabi jeweler, who bought the pearl just a few weeks ago from a French person who wishes to remain unknown.
It will be interesting to see how much the pearl sells for and who buys it. If a private party buys it, it is quite possible that they will not want their name published. The nation of China is said to be interested in it; they see it as a treasure that should return to China.
Just one photo of the pearl seems to be available on the internet, and it is the same photo that you can see in the auction catalog for Lot 21.
If you're in the mood to look at beautiful pearls, you will enjoy the Smithsonian online exhibit, The Allure of Pearls. The largest of the pearls in that exhibit was 125 grams smaller than the Arco Valley Pearl.
The largest pearl ever found (that we know of) is the Pearl of Lao-Tzu, also known as the Pearl of Allah. It weighs 14 pounds, and it was found by a Philipine diver in 1934 in a giant clam in the Palawan Sea.