Apr. 21 2011 - 10:15 am By ANTHONY DEMARCOOne of the largest saltwater pearls ever recorded was sold for $254,500 at Christie’s Dubai sale of Important Jewels on Wednesday. The baroque drop-shaped natural pearl weighing 239.7 grains (59.92 carats) is set with a diamond foliate surmount and comes with a 42-cm. long diamond chain.It was once part of the collection of Valda Virginia Vaughn Scott, the daughter of an English diplomat and a member of the Alessi family. Her grandfather and great-grandfather served in the Royal Malta Regiment and the Malta Crown Advocate, and they were in turn descended from the Maltese nobleman, the Marquis di Taflia. The pearl’s provenance along with its size, as one of the largest natural saltwater pearls so far recorded, speaks to its value, said David Warren, International Director of Christie’s Jewellery department and Head of Jewellery Middle East.“Natural pearls of this size are rarely seen on the jewelry market and when offered they attract international interest,” he said. “The buyer is from the region, a traditional hot spot of the finest natural pearl enthusiasts. To date this is the largest natural pearl we have offered in Dubai.”The auction of diamonds, gemstones, natural pearls, contemporary and signed jewelry, held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, took in more than $3.9 million.