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.

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Translation from German: Johannes Fischer



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

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