Cowdray Pearls - Exceptional says SSEF

Cowdray Pearls

Cowdray Pearls

It has been said there is no finer collection of pearls in existence. No surprise then, that Middle East collectors are expected to be among bidders for the single string of grey pearls described as “exceptional” by the Swiss Gemmological Institute.


The Cowdray Pearls, once owned by the late Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson – a well-known English collector who died in 1932 – are expected to fetch between $4.5 million to $7m at an auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on October 7.

“In the last 15 or 20 years there have been a couple of other strands to come up at auction but they are always mainly white pearls,” says Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and chairman of international jewellery, Asia.

The necklace comprises 42 rare, natural grey pearls strung by Cartier, with a matching pair of natural grey earrings. The pearls’ colours vary from shades of grey and brown and overtones of rosé, to purple and green.

Only three types of oysters produce the rare gems in The Cowdray Pearls, but analysis by the Swiss Gemmological Institute narrowed it down to two that grow in the South Pacific – the black-lipped pearl oyster and the rainbow-lipped pearl oyster.

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