“The pearl continues to be 1 of the world’s most covetable style accessories for ladies” — Paul Ebeling
During the20th Century, both Cartier and Tiffany had thriving businesses in the sale of real pearls, then known as Oriental pearls.
Publicity surrounding Consuelo Vanderbilt’s pearl choker, acquired during her marriage to the 9th Duke of Marlborough, led to increased sales of pearls and higher prices.
In Y 1933, Barbara Hutton’s father, Frank Woolworth Hutton, bought his daughter the Marie Antoinette pearls from Cartier as a gift for her wedding, which caused a sensation.
In the 1980’s, the pearl reached peak popularity yet again.
Large South Sea pearls became increasingly desirable in the 1980’s, and stands of these large (12mm to 19mm) pearls became major status symbols and investment pieces., First Lady Barbara Bush popularized the costume (fake) jewelry version of them.
The pearl as we know it retains a timeless look.
Designer Coco Chanel was often seen throughout her lifetime in the early to mid 1900’s wearing her signature strands of costume jewelry pearls, similar versions of which are still being made by Chanel today. Mikimoto, the premier perfecter of the pearl.
In Y 1893, the founder, Kokichi Mikimoto, was the 1st in the world to successfully culture a pearl, just collaborated with Comme des Garçons in March 2021 for the brand’s 2nd-ever fine jewelry collaboration.
The necklaces designed by Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo feature Akoya Mikimoto pearls mixed with Sterling Silver accents such as fangs, studs, and safety pins. “Two things that never exist together in a design becomes one design,” Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons said.
Many cultures, across the world, associate pearls with the moon, assigned them magical properties, and even ground them up for medical use and in cosmetics. In Victorian England, tiny seed pearls were worn as symbolic tears in mourning dress.
There is documentation of Chinese royalty receiving gifts of pearls as far back as 2300 BCE. Both Byzantine Emperors and Julius Caesar passed laws declaring pearls were only fit for the ruling classes.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!