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Famous pearl lost and found in dog's mouth
November 14, 2023
Did you know that shortly after Elizabeth Taylor received the famous La Peregrina pearl, she lost it?
In 2011 Christies auctioned off this famous natural pearl necklace which sold for USD $11,842,500.
I wanted to see this pearl so I went to New York City on a Sunday afternoon to view it. The decision to go was last minute. At church that morning it dawned on me that I should certainly make the effort to see it, so went home, bought a ticket online and drove to the airport. Fortunately we have a small international airport only thirty minutes from our home. In NYC I stood in line a long time to see the items up for auction, including La Peregrina, but the wait was worth it.
It's not every day one can see, in person, the most famous natural pearl in the world.
In Elizabeth Taylor's book, My Love Affair with Jewelry she describes loosing the pearl and finding it in her dog's mouth.
"I had just received La Peregrina from New York on a delicate little chain (note: Elizabeth redesigned the necklace for La Peregrina. When she received La Peregrina it hung from a long chain with spaced natural pearls.) and I was touching it like a talisman. So I was dreaming and glowing and wanting to scream with joy. At one point I reached down to touch La Peregrina and it wasn't there! I glanced over at Richard and thank God he wasn't looking at me, and I went into the bedroom and threw myself on the bed, buried my head into the pillow and screamed.
"Very slowly and very carefully, I retraced all my steps in the bedroom. I took my slippers off, took my socks off, and got down on my hands and knees, looking everywhere for the pearl. Nothing. I thought, "It's got to be in the living room in front of Richard. What am I going to do. He'll kill me!
"Because he loved the piece. La Peregrina is unique in the world of gems. It's one of the most extraordinary pieces there is. And I knew that he was proud inside.
"So I went out and sort of started humming lalalala, and I was walking back and forth in my bare feet, seeing if I would feel anything in the carpet. I was trying to be composed and look as if I had a purpose, because inside I was practically heaving I was so upset. I looked over and saw the white Pekingese, which was mine, and the orangy-brown Pekingese, which was Richard's. All the puppies--it was their feeding time--were around the bowls munching. So I looked at the dogs, saying, "Hi babies, such sweet babies." And I saw one chewing on a bone. And I did the longest, slowest double take in my head. I thought, "Wait a minute, we don't give our dogs, especially the puppies bones! What is he chewing on? And I just wanted to put my hand over my mouth and scream again. But no, I just casually opened the puppy's mouth and inside his mouth was the most perfect pearl in the world. It was--thank God--not scratched.
"I did finally tell Richard. But I had to wait at least a week."
Here is a painting of Queen Mary wearing La Peregrina.
Read more about La Peregrina here, as told by George Kunz and Charles Stevenson in The Book of the Pearl.
I hope you have been enjoying the lovely fall weather. At least it's fall here in my part of the world and I'm learning to enjoy this time of the year more and more.
What is your favorite time of year?
I've just been given my mother's rosemaled hutch and have found just the right place for it. Rosemaling is a Norwegian rose-painting technique and since my heritage is Norwegian, I'm thrilled to have this family treasure.
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