Known as the Sleeping Lion pearl due to its distinctive shape, the pearl was likely formed in the first half of the 18th century in Chinese waters, possibly even the Pearl River.
Auction house Venduehuis said the jewel weighs some 120 grams and is almost seven centimetres long making it one of the three largest known pearls in the world. It has an estimated value of between 340,000 and 540,000 euros (USD 400,000 to USD 637,000).
Around 1765, the pearl was shipped to Batavia, now known as Jakarta, by a Dutch merchant of the United East Indies Company. It was there that it came into ownership of the company's accountant, Hendrik Coenraad Sander.
In the turbulent years that followed her death, the pearl vanished from China and surfaced again in Poland, After more adventures, it was bought in 1865 by a Dutch goldsmith and remained in his family's possession for four generations, before the "Amsterdam Pearl Society bought the pearl in 1979 intending to research it and trace its history," the auctioneers said.
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