May 3, 2007 in Nation/World

800-year-old giant pearl to be sold at auction

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – It has been passed down for 800 years, from Chinese emperors to Marco Polo. The name of its current owner is a secret. But today, hundreds of people will get the chance to buy the world’s largest natural pearl on the market.

The “Arco Valley Pearl” – 3.1 inches in length – will be up for bidding at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace and on the Internet, where it is estimated to fetch up to $8 million.

The 575-carat pearl from 12th-century Mongolia once belonged to Chinese emperors, Persian kings, the grandson of Genghis Khan and Marco Polo.

The value of the saltwater pearl is based on its size, color, weight, exclusivity, history and records of what people have been prepared to pay for similar precious items.

“It’s 800 years old and it still takes your breath away,” said Khaled al-Sayegh, 35, a jeweler from Abu Dhabi and chairman of the organizing committee for today’s event.

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