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Pearl Necklaces

Since antiquity, pearls have been a coveted commodity both for their beauty and their fantastical beginnings. Early cultures developed fanciful origin stories for the luminous spheres. Ancient Greeks and Romans, for instance, thought pearls formed after oysters swallowed dewdrops.

Later, Renaissance and Baroque cultures assumed the pearl was the oyster’s egg. By the 18th century, the actual origin a pearl’s formation had been deduced, but its celebrity was already established.

One of the early challenges of incorporating pearls into necklace strands was the fact that, since they are a product of nature, they are rarely uniformly round. This uniformity is important, as it will determine the lay of the strand along the neckline. Some elaborate pearl necklaces over history waited months, if not years, for the necessary pearls to be discovered.

In the late 19th century, however, the cultured pearl was developed. These pearls, which involve manual rather than natural seeding, are grown in farm beds and typically result in more uniform shapes and sizes.


Quick Facts

  • During the Byzantine era, many thought that pearls provided resistance against disease. This is why the famous 7th-century mosaic of Empress Theodora at Italy’s Basilica of Ravenna depicts her wearing a headdress bedecked with dangling pearl strands
  • According to jewelry lore, Jacques Cartier, descendent of the family lineage of the Cartier jewelry brand, purchased his store location on New York’s Fifth Avenue in the early 20th century in exchange for two spectacular pearl necklaces
  • The largest cultured pearl recorded is the Paspaley Pearl. Measuring roughly 20.4 millimeters, the pearl is almost 50 percent larger than the average cultured pearl and is one of the most perfectly round cultured pearls ever produced

Recommended Items at Auction

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14K Gold, Diamond & Pearl Necklace
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
14K Gold, Diamond & Pearl Necklace
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$18012 Bids
MIRIAM HASKELL Faux Baroque Pearl Choker Necklace
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
MIRIAM HASKELL Faux Baroque Pearl Choker Necklace
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $30- $100
$909 Bids
14K Gold & Pearl Beaded Necklace
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
14K Gold & Pearl Beaded Necklace
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$557 Bids
MIKIMOTO 27.50" PEARL NECKLACE
Dec 04, 1:00 PM EST
MIKIMOTO 27.50" PEARL NECKLACE
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $2,500- $3,000
$5106 Bids
PEARLS WITH 14K WHITE GOLD CLASP LOT 696
Dec 04, 5:00 PM EST
PEARLS WITH 14K WHITE GOLD CLASP LOT 696
by Jones Auction House LLC
Est: $0- $0
$326 Bids
Tahitian Pearl Bead Necklace w Coins
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Tahitian Pearl Bead Necklace w Coins
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $20- $150
$404 Bids
GIA Very Rare Natural Pearl 3-8.2mm Double Strand Antique Necklace w/ Huge Old Cut Diamond Clasp
Dec 03, 12:00 PM EST
GIA Very Rare Natural Pearl 3-8.2mm Double Strand Antique Necklace w/ Huge Old Cut Diamond Clasp
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $30,000- $40,000
$3,7004 Bids
14K GOLD & STERLING SILVER 10MM PEARL NECKLACE
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
14K GOLD & STERLING SILVER 10MM PEARL NECKLACE
by Imperial Auction
Est: $400- $500
$804 Bids
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14K GOLD GARNET WHITE CULTURED PEARL DOUBLE STRAND NECKLACE
Dec 18, 9:00 AM MST
14K GOLD GARNET WHITE CULTURED PEARL DOUBLE STRAND NECKLACE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1803 Bids
30" PEARL 14K GOLD & ONYX NECKLACE STRAND
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
30" PEARL 14K GOLD & ONYX NECKLACE STRAND
by Imperial Auction
Est: $300- $400
$303 Bids
14K Rose Gold, Pink Cultured Pearl and Diamond, Chanel Inspired Strand Necklace
Dec 11, 7:00 PM AEST
14K Rose Gold, Pink Cultured Pearl and Diamond, Chanel Inspired Strand Necklace
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD2,025- AUD3,375
AUD6003 Bids
Pearl Necklace with White Gold and Diamond Set Clasp
Dec 03, 9:00 AM EST
Pearl Necklace with White Gold and Diamond Set Clasp
by Leland Little Auctions
Est: $800- $1,600
$4502 Bids
A vintage two-strand graduated pearl necklace with silver clasp.
Dec 07, 9:00 AM PST
A vintage two-strand graduated pearl necklace with silver clasp.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $150- $250
$1602 Bids
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South Sea Pearl Neoprene Necklet
Dec 06, 2:00 PM AEDT
South Sea Pearl Neoprene Necklet
by Shapiro Auctioneers
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD2602 Bids
Dominique Aurientis Paris faux pearl necklace
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
Dominique Aurientis Paris faux pearl necklace
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $150- $250
$1252 Bids
7MM CULTURED PEARL NECKLACE 14K GOLD 17.5" STRAND
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
7MM CULTURED PEARL NECKLACE 14K GOLD 17.5" STRAND
by Imperial Auction
Est: $300- $400
$202 Bids
LADY'S PEARL NECKLACE W/ANTIQUE EMERALD & DIAMOND CLASP.
Dec 19, 9:00 AM EST
LADY'S PEARL NECKLACE W/ANTIQUE EMERALD & DIAMOND CLASP.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
40 inch pearl necklace with sterling silver clasp
Dec 14, 6:00 PM CST
40 inch pearl necklace with sterling silver clasp
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $650- $1,250
$51 Bid
FAUX PEARLS LOT WITH NOLAN MILLER SET, EPIPHANY STRAND
Dec 02, 12:00 PM EST
FAUX PEARLS LOT WITH NOLAN MILLER SET, EPIPHANY STRAND
by Converse Auctions
Est: $40- $80
$101 Bid
3 BEAUTIFUL NECKLACES
Dec 13, 11:00 AM EST
3 BEAUTIFUL NECKLACES
by Vintage Auctions Online
Est: $25- $100
$51 Bid
PINK / MAUVE COLOR NECKLACE
Dec 13, 11:00 AM EST
PINK / MAUVE COLOR NECKLACE
by Vintage Auctions Online
Est: $25- $100
$51 Bid
ED WEINER STERLING SILVER AND PEARL COLLAR
Dec 13, 2:00 PM EST
ED WEINER STERLING SILVER AND PEARL COLLAR
by Quinn's Auction Galleries
Est: $500- $700
$2501 Bid
FRESHWATER PEARL THREE STRAND NECKLACE IN PRESENTATION BOX
Dec 02, 12:00 PM EST
FRESHWATER PEARL THREE STRAND NECKLACE IN PRESENTATION BOX
by Converse Auctions
Est: $40- $80
$101 Bid
3 ISAAZ MIZRAHI PEARL & CRYSTAL NECKLACES & SETS
Dec 02, 12:00 PM EST
3 ISAAZ MIZRAHI PEARL & CRYSTAL NECKLACES & SETS
by Converse Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Pearl Necklaces


Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Geneve Encheres

Geneve Encheres

Henry's Auktionshaus

Henry's Auktionshaus

Greenwich Auction

Greenwich Auction