La Peregrina Pearl
In 1969, Richard Burton spent
$37,000 (outbidding Prince Alfonso de Bourbon Asturias) to buy Elizabeth La
Peregrina, a stunning pear shaped pearl, for her thirty-seventh birthday.
“It used to belong to the Welsh,” Burton stated. “I thought it time they got
it back.” Included in the purchase of La Peregrina was the pearl’s
provenance, which is as fascinating as the pearl is rare and beautiful. A
slave was set free after finding the pearl in the Gulf of Panama and
bringing it to the Spanish court. It was later given to Mary Tudor of
England upon her engagement to Spain’s Phillip II in 1554. Later, Queens
Margarita and Isabel owned the pearl. Both were immortalized, wearing the
pearl, in separate portraits by the revered sixteenth century painter,
Valásques. And finally, in the early part of the 1800’s, the Bonapartes
owned the pearl.
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Elizabeth Taylor Archives © Copyright 2001-2009 Andrew Budgell