Pearls have throughout history been synonymous with Royalty and Royal Jewelry Collections. A stroll in the National Gallery, London, the Prado or Louvre Museums will attest to the multitude of pearl necklaces and ornaments adorning the Royal Sitters in the splendor of their period portraiture. The allure of precious pearls has transversed through the centuries across the Atlantic from Royalty to American Society, with social luminaries like the Countess Mona Bismarck and Marjorie Merriweather Post with important natural pearls in their collection. The famous pearl and diamond necklace, by Cartier belonging to Marjorie Merriweather Post was most recently exhibited in Paris in the retrospective “Cartier: Style and History” in 2013/14. And of course there is the famous Barbara Hutton with her Marie Antoniette pearls.
Above left: Queen Joséphine’s Pearl Necklace, formerly in the collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais, Queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-1876) Sold in Geneva 12 November 2014 CHF 3,301,000 (US$3,418,747)
Above Right: Josephine de Beauharnais (1807-1876), Queen of Sweden
Beautiful women also possesed pearls of note: Be it Hollywood Screen Legend, Elizabeth Taylor with her famous “Le Peregrina” pearl; Screen Siren Gina Lollobridgida’s spectacular pearl ear pendants or Opera Diva, Maria Callas’s pearl drops. Closer to Asia, with Near East Royalty, there are the famous Baroda Pearls of the Maharaja and Maharani of Baroda. Pearls are an extremely integrated part of any Indian royal jewelry collection. Delving further back to the past in the Far East, the Empress Dowager, although not well-known for pearls, was rumored to have been partial to drinking grounded natural pearls as an elixir of youth and beauty.
Above left: Screen Siren Gina Lollobrigida Spectacular Natural Pearls Pendant, sold by Sotheby’s Geneva, 14 May 2013 CHF 1,900,000(US$2,014,000)
Above Right: Elizabeth Taylor and her “Le Peregrina” Pearl