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Sister Likes Pearls, So Kuwaiti Pays a Record $865,000 for Birthday Gem

May 13, 1988|From Reuters

GENEVA — A young Kuwaiti financier on Thursday paid the world's top auction price for a pearl, which he will give to his older sister for a birthday present.

"She likes pearls and she wanted this one," Safa Abdulla, 25, said after paying $865,000 for the egg-shaped "La Regente."

The pearl was formerly part of the French crown jewels and was worn by Empress Marie-Louise, the second wife of Napoleon I, and the Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. It was purchased in 1887 by a Russian family, and its whereabouts were unknown until recently.

"Even at $10 million, I would have bought it," said Abdulla. His married sister, Khlood Abdulla, will celebrate her 30th birthday today in Kuwait, he added.

Auctioneers Christie's (International) S.A. said the pearl was sold for nearly twice as much as the previous record price for a single pearl--$487,000 for "La Pelegrina" sold at an auction a year ago.

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