From the sandy beaches of the Pearl Islands, to the hands of the English kingdom, to the court of France, and finally to the Hollywood hills, the La Peregrina Pearl is easily the most famous pearl in the world as well as one of the largest. In our final Monday Mystery installment, we will cover the strange journey of this legendary pearl.
Don Pedro carried the pearl back to Spain where he gave it to Philip II, who then presented the pearl to Mary I of England as an anticipatory present in honor of their wedding. It is at this point that the La Peregrina starts accumulating a reputation for being cursed. Following their marriage, Mary Tudor goes through two phantom pregnancies and her husband, who had no love for her, left Mary and returned to Spain. Four years after his departure, Mary I died alone in 1558. After her death, the La Peregrina pearl was returned to the Spanish court.
During the following century, the Hapsburg dynasty created by Philip had self-destructed by 1700. Philip himself died a terribly painful death by gout, fever, and edema over the period of 52 days. In 1808 Napoleon’s older brother, Joseph Bonaparte, became the King of Spain. He ruled for five years before being forced out after the defeat at the battle of Vitoria and he took the pearl with him. At this time the pearl was dubbed the “La Peregrina,” Spanish for “the Wanderer” or “the Pilgrim.”
The pearl changed hands multiple times over the next several years, including Spanish queens Margarita and Isabel, until the Hamilton family placed the pearl up for auction at Sotheby’s in London in 1969. Richard Burton purchased the pearl for $37,000, outbidding a member of the Spanish royal family, to give to Elizabeth Taylor as a Valentine’s Day gift. Elizabeth, ever the lover of jewelry, worn the La Peregrina frequently, including in movies Anne of the Thousand Days, Divorce His – Divorce Hers, and A Little Night Music.
Cursed or not, we hope you enjoyed our Monday Mystery series and we wish you an early happy Halloween!
Established in 1912, the King family has owned and operated King Jewelers for five generations while building an outstanding reputation steeped in quality, value, and first-class service. Today, King Jewelers has brick-and-mortar stores located in Aventura, FL and Nashville, TN, both of which have won numerous regional and national awards of distinction. Offering a magnificent selection of fine jewelry collections including the hottest Italian designs, estate jewelry, colored gemstones and fancy-colored diamonds, as well as luxury European timepieces, King Jewelers prides itself in being one step ahead of the trend. In addition, King Jewelers offers on-site jewelry and watch repairs, custom design services, appraisals, estate buying, and corporate gift programs. For more information, visit www.kings1912.com.
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