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    For $632,000, Own the World’s Largest Freshwater Pearl

    Oyster enthusiasts, this is your moment.
    The largest known freshwater pearl in the world, dubbed “The Sleeping Lion,” is hitting the auction block on May 31. Weighing almost 4 ounces and stretching over 2.7 inches long, the rare natural object will be sold at the Venduehuis auction house in The Hague, according to CNN. Top estimates value the pearl, which is being auctioned for the first time in 240 years, at $632,000.
    In addition to its unique shape, it has a storied history. The outlet reports that the pearl was likely formed between 1700 and 1760, with origins in China. Initially owned by a wealthy trader of the Dutch East India Company, it ended up in his possession after Dutch merchants moved it from China to present-day Jakarta, then Europe. CNN notes this likely went against Chinese Emperor Qianlong’s ban on large pearl exports, but it ended up in Amsterdam nonetheless, where it was first auction in 1778 following the merchant’s death. It went on to join the collection of Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, and has been in the possession of various European jewelry through the centuries.

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