Pearls are now a girl’s best friend!

A SINGLE string of natural pearls has made �7,800 at auction after being spotted by jewellery experts.

The owner of the necklace bought the item for valuation to Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, expecting it to be made from cultured pearls. However, the jewellery experts at the Stansted Mountfitchet auction room spotted the item and were able to confirm that the pearls were, in fact, natural.

Sworders’ managing director, Guy Schooling, said: “Once we had realised that the pearls could be real we needed them to be officially authenticated. So we sent the necklace to the Gem and Pearl Laboratory in London for testing. They confirmed that the pearls were natural, and certificated them accordingly.

“Natural pearls have had a sudden surge in popularity recently due to their rarity and buyers across the world are looking for certified pearls like this. A cultured string would probably have made around �200 and we estimated this necklace to be worth around �1,500.

“But the increased demand saw that price rise at auction to a staggering �7,800. So forget diamonds, pearls are now a girl’s best friend!”

The sale also featured a Cartier lapel watch once owned by Gertie Millar, one of the most famous actresses of the Edwardian era. From a working class background, Gertie had a successful stage career before marrying the Earl of Dudley in 1924. The Art Deco style lapel watch featured her initials GM in diamonds and is thought to have been a gift from her husband.

It was estimated to sell for up to �15,000, but overseas interest saw the price rise to �30,000 and was sold to a US bidder.

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Also going under the hammer was a silver christening cup given by Lawrence of Arabia to the son of the real-life Peter Pan. The item was given by TE Lawrence in 1933 to his godson, Ruthven Barrie Llewelyn Davies.

Ruthven was the son of Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of five brothers adopted by J M Barrie, and widely regarded to have been the inspiration behind Barrie’s most famous character, Peter Pan. The cup sold over the �1,500 guide price for �2,000.

• Sworders is now taking entries to its next sale of decorative art and design on Tuesday January 29, 2013.