Pearls may well be the world’s oldest gem, dating back to over 4,000 years. During many years and all around the globe pearls had special attention. Here are just few examples of the power of this gems: Pearls were presented as gifts to Chinese royalty; pearl jewellery was considered the ultimate status symbol in ancient Rome; Julius Caesar passed a law limiting the wearing of pearls only to the ruling classes.
With such a long and ancient history, it is no wonder that, over time, the pearl became shrouded in myth and legend. The spherical shape of some pearls led many cultures to associate this gem with the moon. In ancient China, pearl jewellery was said to symbolise the purity of the wearer, knights often wore pearls on the battlefield, believing that the precious gemstones would keep them safe. In Europe, they symbolized modesty, chastity, and purity.
According to legend, Cleopatra crushed a pearl into a glass of wine to prove to Marc Antony that she could give the most expensive dinner in history. This legend was performed in the painting of the Dutch artist Jan Steen The Banquet of Anthony and Cleopatra.
Over the centuries, pearls have featured in many art pieces (one more example is Painting by Johannes Vermeer – “Girl with a Pearl Earring”), and usually carried some kind of meaning or analogy.
In terms of their fashion currency, pearls have had something of a bumpy journey, particularly in the latter half of the 20thcentury. Pearls became the icon of “lady”. Young ladies wore little pearls with cashmere sweaters for their college yearbook photos. Married ladies wore larger pearls to symbolize their husbands’ advancing careers and their relative social position within their communities. Rich ladies wore either very large pearls or multiple strands to make their positions clear.
In the 1920s, pearl necklaces in the form of simple strands reflected the fashion for streamlined, unfussy designs. Known as sautoirs, these long necklaces would often measure more than 30 inches and be decorated with a tassel as a pendant. "A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls," declared Coco Chanel, who was rarely seen without a pile of pearls casually worn around her neck. She shocked society ladies by mixing the real thing with fakes and teaming her pearls with casual daywear.
Somewhere around the 1980s pearls gained a reputation as the preserve of older ladies in twinsets with blue-rinse hairdos. Now, however, the tide is turning and pearls are once again back in favour with the fashionable set (http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/jewellery/article/history-of-pearls-pearl-jewellery-rings-earrings-necklaces/).
Nowadays still pearls of different sizes and forms are used in all kinds of jewelry. They are also being incorporated into contemporary jewellery designs by innovative designers. Pearls in contemporary jewels is used separately or in combination with other stones. Traditionally, pearls were celebrated for their uniformity in size and color but now it seems the more avant-garde, the better.
Designer Beatriz Palacious, which you can see on https://el-estel.com/brands/beatriz-palacios/ has created surrealistic collection “Eye/Heart” where the big emphasis is on the pearls.Combination of forms and materials makes this collection unique. Jewels shows your real You and each item tells the story.