Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pretty In Pearls

Tabitha at Bourbon and Pearls, who we all know has impeccable taste, and if that isn't enough, is one of the cleverest writers in the blogosphere, has posted a lovely article on pearls today.   Very graciously, below the fancy Chopard necklace, she posted three vintage pearl pieces from and needless to say I'm thrilled. I can appreciate that she finds a certain charm in the fact that vintage estate jewelry has a certain history.
Which brings me to point out that so many other women with impeccable taste, like Tabitha, had a little thing for pearls.
Such as the young Queen Elizabeth.  I love the long pearl sautoir knotted in the middle and pearls in her headdress.  But, I'm even more impressed that she's holding a rainbow.
And then we have the full blown Elizabeth, once again with pearls in her hair, her six strand necklace and sewn into her gown.  In this portrait she has traded in her rainbow for a globe, clearly clarifying, not only her good taste in clothes and jewels but her world domination.
Then over on the Continent we Maria de Medici
Here, as a young girl, she was wearing a pearl headband, pearl earrings, a pearl choker necklace and of course she had pearls sewn into her gown. Pretty wasn't she?  It's hardly surprising that she became the wife of France's Henry IV.
Like other Italian women, Maria de Medici certainly had sprezzatura.  Just check out that jaunty pearl brooch sprouting out of the side of her coiffure.
Much later in France we had another queen who sported pearls in her hair.

The young Marie Antoinette, in her early days at court, mixed pearls with feathers in her headdress.
In the famous Lebrun portrait the hat gets grander but the jewelry simplified with only a double strand at her throat and a triple strand at her wrist. Perhaps in this portrait she was on her way to the hameau de la reine at Versailles to dabble in the simple life.
We all know how dramatically court life changed in Marie Antoinette's lifetime, but pearls continued to be worn by fashionable women.

Here is a portrait of the Queen of Holland, from the turn of the 18th Century, I assume by the cut of her gown, wearing a gorgeous pearl tiara.
And this lovely lady from the Georgian Period is wearing teardrop shaped pearl earrings and note the giant pearl bauble sticking through her top knot.
Moving ahead we have Babe Paley, one of the most chic women of the 20th Century.
I love the way that her pearls look casually thrown on in this is she almost couldn't be bothered. How totally modern is that? And of course we can't forget another 20th Century style icon,
Jackie Kennedy, who opted for the classic triple strand.

Pearls, as we know, are timeless and their elegance will continue to endure.
But I wonder, who will be our pearl wearing style icon of the 21st Century?
And ideas?
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David Toms said...

ahh pearls! such classics and timeless. Remember when all young ladies received them on their 21st? My mother would not be able to survive without hers! Great pictures

WendyB said...

Well, this is a post that speaks to me -- all those queens!

I have an adorable asymmetrical silver-colored pearl pendant that my husband got me about 10 years ago. I recently took it out of its boring factory-made setting to create a new setting for it. I feel that regular diamonds are too boring. I would have loved to do amethysts with it but I can't get stones small enough. So I'm thinking black diamonds now. That should make it a little edgier, no?

High Heeled Life said...

wonderful post ... pearls really are timeless!!! HHL

Make Do Style said...

I so love pearls so this is a fabulous post xx

Belle de Ville said...

Sorry peeps for the poorly written post. I had to write it quickly and I didn't have time to proof read it.

David, you nailed it. Receiving pearls as a gift is truly a rite of passage for young women.

Wendy, I love the black diamond idea with the pearl. Very edgy.
But you should be able to get colored stone melee too. I love amethyst and tsavorite melee when it is set in blackened gold.

HHL, yes they are timeless.
It amazes me that all of our pearls now are basically created or cultured. But when you see the enormous amount of pearls used in jewelry and in clothes in those portraits, it is astounding to consider that they were all natural pearls. There must have been a thriving pearl trade.

MDS, thank you. Trends come in go in fashion, but pearls are one of the few things that I find to be wearable almost always. They work well with classics, or Wendy B style with edgier looks.

Couture Carrie said...

Absolutely gorgeous pearls!
Love the paintings!


TheStylishShoeGirl said...

I just discovered your blog through Semi Expat, and LOVE it!
I wear pearls almost everyday to work - timeless and elegant!
The paintings are stunning, keep up the good work!

Savvy Gal said...

well, i am a pearl gal. : )

Dash said...

Belle, I love this post and I adore pearls, nothing like them for illuminating the skin! my Mother has strings of fantastic pearls inherited from my Grandmother.
Anne Boleyn also had a thing for Pearls must be where Elizabeth inherited her love for them! Can't think of any great 21st century wearers but I bet Charlotte, Princess Graces Granddaughter would look fabulous in them.

Jill said...

That was just a beautiful post! I actually love pearls. Although I don't wear them often.
Does Carla Bruni wear them often?

Belle de Ville said...

CC: thanks and when are you going to post some Beladora jewelry?????
TSSG: Welcome to BHB.
I'm so glad to read that you wear your pearls. In my opinion they have been neglected in the last 5 years or so in favor of "art project" jewelry. I hoping for a return to the classic look of pearls.
Savvy: Why does that not surprise me...
Dash: I agree that Charlotte would be a natural in pearls...just as her grandmother was.
Jill: I don't think that I have ever seen a photo of Carl Bruni in pearls although she would look great and First Ladyish in a classic Chanel suit and pearls.

WendyB said...

The setting requires VERY small stones. 1 mm max. I don't think I'm going to find that in amethyst though I'm going to look. I tried purple sapphires but they were too on the pink side for me. I might be able to get tsavorite but I was wavering on how that would look with the silver pearl. Maybe I'll just have to get it on memo and see how it looks to make a decision.

glamourshoes said...

I love that picture of Babe Paley! Maybe I will wrap my pearls around my wrist today. Do you think I will get the same effect without a cigarette poised near my lips? Haha! These are beautiful pictures. Oh, to be Marie Antoinette for a day! (But only a day!)

Fay said...

Hi thanx for your visit and kind comments i love pearls too I did Number 166 if you like them too

enjoy the weekend fay

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