Victoria Albert Museum Premiers ‘Pearl Exhibit’ in London

Victoria Albert Museum Premiers ‘Pearl Exhibit’ in London

August 28, 2013 Alex
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It will begin on September 21st.Ā Ā The Victorian and Albert Museum, Londonā€™s premier museum of art and design, will be opening their Pearl Exhibit. The Focus: Showcasing the history and beauty of one of the worldā€™s most beautiful and mysterious of jewels; theĀ pearl.

Cartier Pearl Necklace Victoria and Albert Exhibit

Necklace with five graduated strands, Cartier, France, 1930-40, platinum, diamonds and natural Gulf pearls. Qatar Museums Authority. Photo Ā© Sothebyā€™s

Pearls are one of the most enchanting jewels on earth, because they are surrounded in mystery. Created deep below the surface of the sea, in a process that is only short of magical. The rarity and difficulty of locating and obtaining pearls have made it one of the most sought after of valuable objects.

The Rosebery Pearl and Diamond Tiara, London, 1878, gold, silver, diamonds, natural bouton pearls and natural drop-shaped pearls. Qatar Museums Authority. Photo Ā© Christie'sThe Rosebery Pearl and Diamond Tiara, London, 1878, gold, silver, diamonds, natural bouton pearls and natural drop-shaped pearls. Qatar Museums Authority. Photo Ā© Christieā€™s

Pearls often played an important role in the royal courts during the 18thand 19 centuries. And just like today, anything the royal family took a fancy to immediately became a social phenomenon.

Arabian gulf pearls and pearl necklaces

Pearls and pearl necklaces from the Arabian Gulf
Reproduction of original photograph
The Arabian Gulf
20th century
Ā© Hussain Alfardan Archives

As styles and status symbols have changed over the centuries, pearls have maintained its position as a symbol of beauty, elegance and mystery.

Cultured Pearls

This exhibit will also explore the beauty and mystery of theĀ cultured pearl. As with many aspects of nature, man has attempted to replicate or in some way improve upon this lovely natural creation.

Sash clip ā€˜Yagurumaā€™ (Wheels of Arrows) and box, Mikimoto, Japan, 1937, platinum, 18 carat white gold, cultured Akoya pearls, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. Ā© Mikimoto Pearl Island, Japan

Sash clip ā€˜Yagurumaā€™ (Wheels of Arrows) and box, Mikimoto, Japan, 1937, platinum, 18 carat white gold, cultured Akoya pearls, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. Ā© Mikimoto Pearl Island, Japan

Cultured pearls really took on the retail potential when Kokichi Mikimoto was granted a patent allowing him to experiment with creating cultured, round pearls in Japan. Mikimotoā€™s dream was ā€œto adorn the necks of all the women of the world with pearls.ā€ By the 1950ā€™s his dream had been realized and cultured pearls dominated the market. The company that Mikimoto left behind is still a renowned creator of cultured pearls and known for their quality jewels.

Exquisite Pearl Creations

'Gothic' choker Mikimoto Japan 2011 18 carat white gold, diamonds and Akoya pearls Ā© Mikimoto Pearl Island, Japan

ā€˜Gothicā€™ choker
Mikimoto
Japan
2011
18 carat white gold, diamonds and Akoya pearls
Ā© Mikimoto Pearl Island, Japan

The 1930s and 40s were a time of extravagance and luxury in Europe, resulting in some very lavish pearl pieces. Five strand, graduated natural pearl strand necklaces accented with diamonds will be among pieces on display. Rare pieces such as ā€œThe Loverā€™s Eye Broochā€ of the 1800s are an example of pieces of jewelry that went out of fashion rather quickly, thus adding to their rarity and value.

Among the exhibits include pearls that earlier belonged to European royals, American music stars and East Asian leaders.

Major exhibits:-Pearl-drop earring worn by deposted English monarch Charles I to his 1649 execution-a necklace of cultured pearls gifted by New York Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio to his then-wife Marlyn Monroe in 1954-the world’s largest pearl, the 14-pound Pearl of Allah, which originally belong to a Filipino tribal chieftan-Pearl jewelry designed by Bvlgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Rene Lalique, Tiffany.

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