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Pearls are organic gemstones that are formed of shelled molluscs, bivalve oysters and mussels. They are made up of nacre (mother-of-pearl), which is mostly made up of aragonite (calcium carbonate) and conchiolin (complex proteins from mollusc shells). The name ‘pearl’ was believed to have come from the Middle English word ‘perle’, which actually came from the Latin word for leg, ‘perna’.Pearls can be found in many colours shapes, sizes, surface quality and bigger ones are considered better. Buyers can get it in a range of personalized colours, structures and varieties. The natural beauty, uniqueness and modern looks where the new cream to white, embedded in a gold setting with diamonds can provide a valuable item for a jewellery collection. The more spherical or the ones that reflect light more, the thicker ones, and the presence of iridescent coat on the outer layers, makes it more sought-after. Earlier the buyer searched for naturally perfect shapes but the young buyers look for rare shapes and structures.
In the jewellery industry, the combination of natural gems and pearls provide perfect luxury collectables that can be carried forward to the next generations, where it offer environmentally sustainable and renewable investment opportunity. It forms a smaller section of luxury investment but many ultra-rich investors seek such items to add to their collection and are ready to pay millions for it, especially, the ones worn by celebrities are considered highly valuable.
Rare jewellery has been top option in 2018 alternative asset class category, where jewellery delivered a 112 per cent appreciation in the last 10 years. Jewellery can be built on precious gemstones, metals and pearls to create fashion moment from time to time where the new buyers seek newer designs, innovative shapes and colours to avoid the so-called "mother of the bride look".
The Marie Antoinette pearl and diamond pendant were one of the precious jewels sold for $36m, in November 2018 at Geneva. The French queen was beheaded during the French revolution and the presale estimate of the jewel was $2 million but the auction shattered all pre-sales estimates. Similarly, one of the famous was ‘The Baroda Pearls’ that belonged to the Maharajah of Baroda’s collection. It was a double-stranded necklace made from 68 pieces and in 2007, was sold for $7 million.
Non-white ones can command a higher price in the market in comparison to whites, as they are scarcer. The black and grey, four strand necklace, was sold at Christie auctions, in 2015, for $5.1 million. The necklace was backed by the Swiss Gemological Institute report of the authenticity of saltwater natural origins.
Some are grown in cultured waters in Australia, Japan, Central America and the natural river ones are usually found in Asia, Europe and North America. The Akoya, Tahitian, the South Sea and even the natural ones, can create a personalized look, offering desired customized composition and an opportunity into an ethical investment where the market is expected to gain significantly surpassing $16 billion worldwide by 2022(Research and Markets).
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