Also referred to as the Anne Thomson Dodge Necklace, Catherine the Great's Pearl Necklace is described as versatile, with a changing combination of style and jewelry — interchangeable from brooch to bracelet and vice versa.
This 5-strand, natural pearl necklace belonged to the personal collection of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, a known connoisseur and collector of arts, artifacts, jewels and jewelry, and one of Russia's greatest Romanov rulers.
The versatile pearl necklace is comprised of 389 oriental pearls, featuring three clasps: an enamel clasp portraying Catherine the Great and two alternate diamond clasps. The necklace in its entirety weighs 4,305 grains, or 1,076 carats. The natural pearls are nearly perfectly matched, gradually decrease in size as they near the clasp and though, considered nearly perfectly matched, exhibit spherical shapes, near-spherical, button, oval and slightly baroque shapes as well.
Brought to Europe by a Russian aristocratic family during the revolution, the necklace was purchased by Cartier in Paris; and shortly thereafter sent to Cartier's American Headquarters in New York. It is in New York that the natural pearl necklace was sold to Horace E. Dodge — founder of the internationally renowned Dodge Automobile Company — for an unprecedented $825,000.
Dodge presented the beautiful necklace to his wife, Anna Thomson Dodge, for whom the multi-strand stunner is also named. The necklace remained in the Dodge family until December 2008 when a 3-strand, 224 pearl portion of the original piece was sold at a Bonhams auction in New York.