The world’s largest fresh water pearl, known as “The Sleeping Lion” was sold last Thursday (31st May) at an auction for the whopping price of Rs. 2.5 crores (appx)! This auction, conducted by The Venduehuis auction house in The Hague, Netherlands, marked the first sale of this pearl in 240 years.
The Sleeping Lion pearl, which is 7 cms long and weighs more than 153 gms, gets its name from its unusual shape and is said to have formed in China between 1700 and 1760. Despite the Qing dynasty’s ban on exporting large pearls, The Sleeping Lion found its way to Europe through the Dutch East India Company. Its first owner is thought to be Hendrik Coenraad Sander, accountant general of the Company.
After the accountant general’s demise in 1778, the pearl was auctioned and acquired for Catherine the Great (Empress of Russia from 1762-1796). The exact whereabouts of the pearl after Catherine the Great are unknown. The pearl is said to have been owned by many a merchants, jewellers and aristocrats until it was acquired in 1979 by the Amsterdam Pearl Society – who auctioned this pearl last Thursday. The Sleeping Lion was bought by a Japanese trader according to Agence France-Presse reports; this is all that is known about the new owner of the world’s largest fresh water pearl.
Also, Read about: How To Wear Freshwater Pearls