A single-strand saltwater pearl necklace was the highlight of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' sale of Fine Jewellery and Timepieces on September 8-9. The necklace exceeded its high estimate of $50,000 to make $218,000 at the Chicago sale - an increase in value of 336%.
The necklace is formed of 74 finely matched pearls. It was made in the 1930s by a Chicago based natural pearl dealer who worked with the McIntosh family, the original owners of the necklace, to achieve an exceptionally high quality graduation and lustre.
Pearls have traditionally been associated with celebrities and family dynasties due in part to their timeless simplicity and their ability to retain their value. A pair of pearl necklaces belonging to Wallis Simpson, for example, have risen in value by 10.5% pa since 1987.
There has been a notable rise in popularity for pearls in recent months - with celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Kate Middleton spotted wearing them.
A number of other lots in the sale outperformed their estimates, including a vintage platinum Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany and co., which sold for $134,500 - up 124% on its high estimate of $60,000.
A platinum and 8.23 carat emerald ring sold for $104,500, just over its high estimate of $100,000, while a 1.50-carat fancy deep pink diamond also achieved an impressive $68,500. In total, the two-day sale brought in almost $4m.For more information on jewellery and collectibles sales, please sign up to our free weekly newsletter.