Three strings of natural pearls which sold for a total of £185,000 were the highlight of a specialist sale held last week at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers.

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The pearls, which all had certificates of authenticity, went under the hammer at Sworders’ Silver and Jewellery sale, held at their saleroom in Stansted Mountfitchet last Tuesday (December 3).

The most sought-after necklace was a single row of 75 natural saltwater pearls. It had a guide price of up to £40,000 but under the hammer sold to a buyer in Hong Kong for £89,000.

The same buyer also snapped up a double row necklace totalling 112 pearls, of which 17 were cultured and 95 were natural saltwater. That lot had a guide price of up to £15,000 but sold for £81,000.

The third necklace, also featuring natural saltwater pearls sold for £15,000 – more than double its guide price of £7,000.

All three necklaces had been certified by the Gem and Pearl Laboratory. Each pearl was individually assessed to guarantee its authenticity.

Sworders’ silver and jewellery auctioneer, Helen Jonas, said: “There was a huge amount of interest in these pearls, particularly from India and the Middle East. The single row, which sold for £89,000, was simply exquisite; pearls of that colour, size and shape are hard to find.

“In fact, the price of natural pearls has gone through the roof in the past five or six years, almost trebling in value – so now is a great time to sell. However, the authenticity of pearls is absolutely vital, and only with the right experience can you tell when you may be dealing with natural rather than cultured ones and have them sent to be authenticated.

“So we would urge anyone with a pearl necklace that they have perhaps inherited to have it checked, before simply tossing it into a jewellery box.”

Sworders’ next Silver & Jewellery sale will be on May 20, 2014.

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