The world's most expensive chess set: the Pearl Royale

by André Schulz
7/16/2020 – The Australian artist and goldsmith Colin Burn has created a chess set that is currently considered to be the world's most expensive chess set. The pieces are made of 18-carat white gold, decorated with diamonds, sapphires and South Sea pearls. Purchase price: 4 million dollars. | Photo: Colin Burn

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Luxurious chess

Strictly speaking, you do not need a chess set to play chess. Strong players move the pieces in their mind, for others a computer or a mobile device is enough. However, playing on a real board is more fun. In today's top tournaments the players usually create their masterpieces on wooden sensor boards and with wooden pieces that follow Staunton's design.

But there are also countless chess sets that serve decorative purposes or that are pieces of art, and in the past artists have created chess sets of all kinds which are now coveted collector's items.

But what is the world's most valuable chess set? According to the Luxurious Magazine it is the "Pearl Royale".

This chess set was created by the Australian artist and goldsmith Colin Burn and is worth 4 million dollars. The high value is partly due to the materials used. The pieces were made of 18 carat white gold, decorated with black and white South Sea pearls and covered with 513 carat diamonds and blue sapphires.

The game is so valuable that so far only one gallery has dared to show it in an exhibition: the ACCA art gallery in Beverly Hills in 2019.

Colin Burn was born in 1963, trained as a galvanizer in 1979 and then worked for a leading Australian jewelry company. He started his own company at the age of 22. In his works of art he often uses everyday objects and refines them. In Australia and Japan he has received awards for his work.

So, if you happen to look for a really special chess set, Colin will certainly be happy to take your order. The set can also be ordered from the ACCA Gallery in Beverly Hills but please remember to provide sufficient insurance cover for shipping and choose a choose a safe place to store the set if you are not at home. If you let a neighbour accept your packages he or she should be trustworthy.


Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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wkazisan wkazisan 4/17/2021 01:02
I will buy it one day
Tedz Tedz 7/17/2020 11:00
Beautiful. The Gold and precious stones and intricate work make it very valuable.
There is an economy of basic design? The difference between a Rook and a Pawn is a standard crown.
Gerald C Gerald C 7/17/2020 07:45
A magnificent chess set !
ranger64 ranger64 7/17/2020 07:45
It staggers me that for all the effort put in, they still cannot set up the board correctly (king and queen on wrong squares), and also, leave it with the neighbours? You'd think at that level the purchaser will have staff.
The whole article is so inane on so many levels, does anyone edit this website?
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 7/16/2020 08:58
Haven't we seen things like this before?
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 7/16/2020 05:32
Exemplary kitch.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 7/16/2020 04:51
From the photo, I thought at last someone had it right (although it was not clear in a blink that we are looking at the black pieces). However see, on the video, the right-hand square... (and the position of king and queen).
From my memory, Tim Krabbé once wrote that designers seem to have a preference for the right-hand square to be black. So maybe we chessplayers just have it all wrong.
Another famous example was the giant chessboard on Trafalgar Square (, some ten years ago. On the other side of the spectrum, Korkmaz and Ghazaryan (see did a better job, although the latter still has something to learn about the position of king and queen.
Of course, the problem may also be with the publicity people.

I hope the board is symmetric, otherwise it would also be one of the more costly design mistakes.
anandymous anandymous 7/16/2020 04:21
Does it come with extra queens? If not, I'm not interested.
calvinamari calvinamari 7/16/2020 04:14
I will say this: the chess set reflects the same level of taste as the artist’s dildos and buttplugs: