GIA Pearl Identification Report 2165503254 describes the Putilov pearl as a drilled natural saltwater pearl of the Pinctada species of oyster measuring 19.08 x 18.88 x 16.50 mm. with no indication of treatment; near-round; white body color; orient overtone. The pearl was measured in its setting (pearl weight information is unavailable). Rago presumes that the pearl is from an earlier necklace as it has been full-drilled (with nacreous plugs, one now detached). The 19th century oval brooch onto which the pearl is set measures 2" x 1 5/8". It is framed by 16 near colorless old mine cut diamonds , approximately 28 carats total weight, in cutback collets, and by numerous smaller rose cut diamonds set in silver topped gold. Detachable pin findings orient either horizontally or vertically. The frame bears the unrecognized scratched marks KAM and N677. It weighs 19.7 pennyweights.
Provenance: Alexei (also written as Alexey, Aleksei and Alexis) Putilov, a Russian financier and industrialist, brought the brooch from Russia in the spring of 1918, crossing the Soviet-Finnish border and proceeding to Paris. Putilov had been a powerful man in Russia prior to the Revolution, connected in business and government circles, both in Tzarist Russia and Asia. His family founded the Putilov Metal Works Company, a major supplier of railway products for the Russian government and artillery for the Imperial Russian Army. Historians cite strikes at a Putilov mine in February of 1917 and a subsequent speech delivered at the mine by Lenin as events that contributed directly to the Russian Revolution. After the Revolution, Lenin himself signed a decree confiscating all Putilov's real and personal property. Putilov fled Russia. He resumed his banking career in Paris under a Gallicized name. The consignor is the great grandchild of Putilov and his wife, Vera. Her surname is Anglicized. The brooch was inherited by her mother, who was born and reared in France and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.
Prior Record Holder: The near-round natural saltwater pearl that was the largest on record, and now holds the title of second largest, sold at the British auction house of Woolley & Wallis on May 1st, 2014. A lab report, from SSEF, Switzerland, states that the pearl measures 17.44 x 16.51 mm.; is roundish; half-drilled; white; and a natural saltwater pearl.
The product of this pearl's longest and shortest diameter is 287.93 mm. squared.
The product of the Putilov Pearl's longest and shortest diameter is 314.82 mm. squared - approx 8% larger than that of the pearl which sold at Woolley and Wallis.