Price reached at Doyle New York surpassed previous record by $900,000.

A pair of natural pearls have sold at auction in New York for a record breaking $3.3m (£1.96m) beating the previous record by $900,000 (£535,331).

The drop-shaped pearls sold at Doyle New York measured approximately 9/10 inch in height and ½ inch wide, and were a warn grey colour. The pearls were mounted with antique silver and diamond caps set onto a 1920s platinum and diamond pendant.


The pearls were accompanied by a hand-written note explaining that they had previously belonged to Empress Eugenie of France, who was forced to auction her jewels after the fall of her husband, Napoleon III, in 1887.

The winning bid will also receive a report from the Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF stating that the pearls are natural saltwater pearls with no evidence of artificial colour modification. 

A statement from the SSEF explained: “Assembling a matching pair of natural pearls of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional, and thus this pair of pearls can be considered a very exceptional treasure of nature.”

In May 2013, Sotheby’s Geneva sold a pair of natural pearls from the collection of Gina Lollobrigida for $2.4 million (£1.4m). That pair broke the earlier record of $1.99m (£1.3m) set by Christie’s New York at the sale of the collection of Elizabeth Taylor in December 2011.

The pearls were purchased from Doyle New York by an anonymous telephone bidder.