Christies auction house will present a rare 19th century natural coloured pearl necklace at its Important Jewels auction on December 2 2015.
The pearls formerly belong to Queen Isabella II of Spain and have been estimated to sell at £500,000-£700,000.
Originally the pearls were collected by King Ferdinand VII of Spain for his wife Marie Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. Queen Isabella II of Spain was born in Madrid in 1830 and on the death of her father King Ferdinand II was proclaimed sovereign at the age of three, with her mother, Marie Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, acting as regent. Against a backdrop of succession disputes and conspiracies, Isabella was finally declared to be of age at 13, when she reigned directly until the revolt of 1868, known as the Glorious Revolution, which then forced her into exile in France and ushered the First Spanish Republic into power.
The necklace (originally described as being formed from 46 pearls) was later offered for sale at auction in Paris on July 1 1878 consigned directly by Isabella II, along with other magnificent jewels in her collection. It was offered again at Christie’s in London on April 6 1960 as ‘the property of Frank H. Hargrove, Esq.’ and has since remained in the same family.
The graduated row of 43 natural coloured pearls range in size from approximately 13.8 to 6.5mm and in varying tones of black, grey and bronze. The pieces has a similarly-set pearl clasp with old-cut diamond surround, mounted in silver and gold. The length of the necklace is 46.2cm.
Demand for natural pearls has grown in strength and recent auctions have demonstrated this along with an increase in prices. The scarcity of high quality natural pearls in the market has also meant that any natural pearl is a highly desirable treasure.