The Mancini Pearls were gifted to Marie Mancini by King Louis XIV as a symbol of his love.
King Louis XIV, captivated by Marie Mancini's beauty, quickly fell in love with her, the niece of France's Chief Minister. Though the two developed a close romantic relationship and were determined to marry, their dreams were shattered upon the intervention of Cardinal Mazarin and King Louis' mother, Queen Anne, both of whom did not approve of the relationship. Defeated, King Louis XIV presented the pearls to Marie as a symbol of his love.
The Mancini Pearls are two, nearly identical, drop-shape pearls weighing 50 carats, or 200 grains, each. One pearl of the pair is a perfect drop-shape, listed among the most perfect drop-shape pearls known, while its pair is slightly distorted, having one side that bulges out slightly more than the other. The pair of pearls are white, exhibiting a slight pink overtone, with nice luster, good surface quality and skin that appears to be blemish-free.
The pearls are the centerpiece of an earring pendant pair, set in white gold and accented with a diamond quatrefoil — an ornamental design of 4 leaves, resembling a clover leaf — configured with pear, round and brilliant cut diamonds.
It is unknown where the pearls traveled to or to whom they were given after Marie Mancini's passing in 1715; however, the pearl earrings resurfaced in 1979 at a Christie's New York auction, where they were sold for $253,000.