$27.44m is the price tag on Barbara Hutton‘s precious jade necklace, a unique piece made of extremely large gems (each green jade bead’s diameter measures between 15.4 and 19.22 mm).

The origins of these exquisite gems made of imperial jade are still a mystery: most likely crafted from a single block, they could possibly date back to the 18th century. The necklace appeared in public for the first time in 1933, when Barbara Hutton‘s father gave it to her as a wedding gift when she got hitched byprince Alexis Mdivani.

Back then, the jade beads were held together by a clip with a navette-cut diamond exclusively crafted by Cartier. The following year, in 1934, Hutton herself asked for the clip to be replaced with the current latch, which is made of yellow gold, calibrated rubies and baguette-cut damonds. In this occasion, the Woolworth heiress – who spent part of her life and her fortune collecting prestigious jewels, including Marie Antoinette’s choker and the Pacha diamond – requested the french firm to craft a jade, ruby and diamond ring to match the necklace. The piece is now also part of theCollection Cartier.

At an auction held in Hong-Kong on April 7, 2014, Collection Cartier managed to snap the splendid jade choker which, just as the other pieces in their collection, will be showcased in many traveling exhibitions.

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