Featured Image: Pearl ID Bracelet; Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury, 1592; Twin Pearl Ring.

 

The world is their oyster. Pearls have been coveted for centuries, across countless cultures– with origin stories claiming the natural gem began as dewdrops from the moon, dragon's teeth, and even the fallen tears of the gods. Their rich history makes them one of our favorite materials to reinvent, so we're looking back at the pearl's time-honored journey as an international treasure.

 

Ancient Treasures

Byzantine jeweled bracelets; Lacquer box with mother of pearl inlay ca. the early 20th century Korean Joseon Dynasty.

 

Mother of pearl coyote effigy jar lid ca. the Toltec civilization; Tortoiseshell & mother of pearl Italian mandolin ca. 1781.

 

Prized Pearls

The Canning Jewel, Italian Renaissance pendant; The Hope Pearl, 19th century pendant.

Gaikwar of Baroda wearing the original Baroda Pearl Necklace, 1908; The Baroda Pearl Necklace reduced to two strands, the most valuable pearl necklace in the world today.

 

Women's Work

The Ama "sea women" free-diving for pearls, a Japanese tradition over 2,000 years old. Photo by Yoshiyuki Iwase.

 

Victorian Keepsakes

19th century seed pearl collar necklace; Victorian brooches ca. 1800.

 

 

International Heirlooms

Elizabeth Taylor wearing the La Pelegrina pearl in Anne of a Thousand Days, 1969; Portrait of Mary Tudor in the pearl, an engagement gift from Philip II in 1554; Taylor wearing the pearl in a custom Cartier Necklace.

 

Crown Jewels

Royalty during "The Pearl Age" of the 16th century– Barbora Radvilaité, Queen of Poland; Queen Elizabeth I; Anne of Denmark.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara by Leonard Bohen, 1957; Princess Diana in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, 1985; Princess Diana in a seven strand pearl choker, a gift from Queen Elizabeth II, 1994.

 

Street Style

Pearly Kings of London's East End, wearing hand-me-down suits self-embellished with mother of pearl buttons; The Who's Pete Townshend, 1971; Pearly Kings & Queens, Harvest Festival in London.

 

Sculptural Details

Empress Alexandra Feodoronva's Lilies of the Valley Fabergé Egg, a gift from Emperor Nicholas II in 1898; Ruby & pearl brooch by Salvador Dalí.

 

 

Formative Fashion

Josephine Baker, known as the "Black Pearl," photographed by Adolf de Meyer, 1920s; Iconic designer Coco Chanel; Early Hollywood actress & flapper Clara Bow.

Grace Kelly at the Academy Awards, 1955; Grace Kelly on the set of Hitchcock's Rear Window, 1954.

  

 

Not your grandmother's pearls. We're carrying on this style story with pearls in experimental & everyday styles that are made for wearing, not clutching.

Shop the new pearl pieces from LS Studio.

 


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