It’s curious what King Philip ended up giving his daughter for her special day, because he kept the pearl meant for her. The perfect pear shape entranced him.
He elevated La Peregrina to rank of the Spanish Crown Jewels. The pearl had been enjoyed by Spanish queens through the years until 1808, when Joseph Bonaparte (yes, Napoleon's older brother) was installed as King of Spain.
After the defeat of the French forces at the battle of Vittoria , he took La Peregrina with him. The pearl traveled and changed hands in Europe, earning its namesake (Spanish for The Wanderer) until The Hamilton family sold it at auction to Sotheby’s in London.
Richard Burton bought the pearl for the fabulous Liz Taylor as a valentine’s day gift during their first marriage.
The pearl was sometimes designed in too heavy a setting, causing it to be lost and recovered, testing hearts of the elite, over and over again in ballrooms, or in Elizabeth Taylor’s case, the top floor of Ceasar’s Palace.
“ At one point I reached down to touch La Peregrina and it wasn't there! I glanced over at Richard and thank God he wasn't looking at me, and I went into the bedroom and threw myself on the bed, buried my head into the pillow and screamed”.
“So I looked at the dogs, saying, "Hi babies, such sweet babies." And I saw one chewing on a bone. And I did the longest, slowest double take in my head. I thought, "Wait a minute, we don't give our dogs, especially the puppies bones! What is he chewing on? And I just wanted to put my hand over my mouth and scream again. But no, I just casually opened the puppy's mouth and inside his mouth was the most perfect pearl in the world. It was--thank God--not scratched.”
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