Sometimes you don’t realize the value of what you have and you need the others to tell you that what you possess is invaluable. An old piece of pearl earrings was lying neglected in the back of a desk drawer for over 35 years in Wiltshire but has now fetched £1.6m at an auction. The pearl jewelry has a history to boot. It was originally a gift from a Romanian king to his mistress, who left the pearls to a British friend on her death in 1977. The friend who got the earrings didn’t realize its worth. She didn’t like the design as she found it to be too large and ostentatious to wear.
The earrings were consigned to drawer and came out only when they were inherited by the lady’s nephew. He had taken some articles to an auction and casually showed the earring to the auctioneer. He was taken aback when told about the real value of the earrings. Apart from the beautiful and luxurious design its historical association has made it a collector’s item and has generated huge interest from collectors around the world. When it first found its way into a catalogue it was estimated to have a value in the range of £80,000 to £120,000. The auction was held at Wiltshire at the Woolley and Wallis sale-rooms in Salisbury. The earrings had generated a lot of excitement and it witnessed frenetic bidding before reaching its final price of £1.6 million.
The successful bidder was a private collector who preferred to remain anonymous. Jonathan Edwards, of Woolley and Wallis was very happy with the result and credited it to the trend of increasing interest from the millionaires and billionaires from China and the Middle East. The successful bidder seemed to be very determined and just wouldn’t give up. The couple who sold the earrings stood at the back of the room with big smiles on their face. They couldn’t believe their luck as it was a lot of money for them. The earring was originally bought by King Carol II of Romania for his mistress Elena. Their romance turned into a scandal and he renounced his claim to the throne in 1925 and lived with Elena in exile in Portugal. The Swiss Gemological Institute that examined the earrings said that their white color with rose and blue overtones is very rare and assembling a matching pair of pearls if this size will be near impossible.