There was a time when pearls vied with diamonds for first place as iconic objects of beauty. Unlike precious gems, pearls are naturally beautiful.
They just need to be found.
In the middle of the 16th century, on a beach on the island of Santa Margareta, a slave found a shell so insignificant that he was tempted to throw it back into the sea. He discovered within it an extraordinarily large pearl and was rewarded with freedom.
Historians have called it Incomparable for its elongated neck that makes it unique, but the etymology refers to the word “pilgrim” as “errant”. His journey, in fact, has just begun, he will wander for a long time and will pass from house to house without ever finding a real master.
Arrived at the court of Spain from the Colonies, it becomes the ornament of the soft black velvet hat of Philip II. His successor will make little use of the pearl, his wife Margaret of Austria will wear it on the occasion of the Grand Ball of 1605 in Madrid to celebrate peace between England and Spain followed by great celebrations in honor of the visit of the Prince of Wales for which there will be rides and bullfights. The pearl will appear during the most important events of the Spanish court and will serve kings and queens for many generations. She will accompany a young bride, Maria Luisa d’Orlèans, who will arrive at her wedding on an Andalusian horse with her hair down her shoulders and a feather hat adorned with a pearl. It is said that Philip IV gave it to his daughter Maria Theresa, future wife of Louis XIV and so she arrived at the court of France and then went lost with the Revolution.
Others argue that, with the War of the Spanish Succession, along with the other crown jewels, the Pearl left Spain definitively, crossing the border hidden in the pocket of a valet. In any case, after 1707 its history becomes confused, it has been claimed in Spain, in Sardinia and in Moscow but every attempt to retrace its path has failed.
It mysteriously reappears in the hands of the rich Russian nobility but it is not known when and how he ended up in the jewel box of Princess Zinaida Yusupov, great heiress, known for beauty and generosity. Involved in the murder of Rasputin, his son Feliks, sole heir to the princely title and family fortune, managed to escape from Saint Petersburg with two Rembrandts and some jewels – including the famous Pelegrina – to settle in Paris. He managed to separate himself from the Pearl after giving it to a famous jeweler in Geneva, who in turn gave it to a collector who auctioned it at Christie’s in 1989.
As you have already discovered, La Pelegrina is first of all a symbol of emancipation and extraordinary beauty. The elongated shape that made it special is reminiscent of the confetto par excellence in which the fine almond is tenderly wrapped in vanilla sugar. We wanted to make it our distinctive mark by setting it like a jewel and surmounting it with a cheerful ribboned bow, ready to adorn your event.