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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pearls are a girls best friend...

Of course we all know diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in true Miss Mannequin style she likes to extend her acquaintances and finds that pearls also make an adequate friendship…

Hello my Darling Readers. My my, what a superbly enriching summer It has been, I trust yours has been of equal measure? My diary has been jam packed throughout with event after event, but one that held particular interest for me was the opening of “Pearls” at the Victoria and Albert Museum (In conjunction with the Qatar Museums Authority and sponsored by Shell). There can be no doubt that the Victoria and Albert Museum have put on some truly spectacular shows this year with ‘David Bowie is’ and ‘Club to catwalk: London fashion in the 1980's’ - but a touch of traditional glamour in the shape of ‘Pearls’ was an exhibition I could not resist.

All images are copyright to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Fascinating from the start right through to the very end; the exhibition is divided into separate areas covering – the formation of pearls, the history and contemporary pearls. A full explanation of how pearls are made enlightened me to the fact that it is the intrusion of a parasite such as a worm or piece of sponge into the shells mantle, causing an irritation that realises a coating substance which creates a pearl. Fascinating, right? I also discovered that pearl divers originally used very little equipment; wearing merely a loin cloth, leather sheath to hold the oysters and a nose clip made from tortoiseshell. Descending sometimes as deep as 22 metres…they must have had pretty large lungs and a brave character to say the least!

The central focus of the exhibition features the evolution of the pearl in jewellery design throughout history, showcasing jewels from ancient roman times to the current day. In the contemporary area of the exhibition there are items shown by renowned jewellery houses such as Tiffany & Co, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Mikimoto, Yoko London, and René Lalique… oh I do love a bit of sparkle!  

Another fascinating fact; a single pearl is found only in approximately 1 in 2000 oyster shells – making it a rare commodity and thus it is no wonder that these precious gems need to be displayed in enclosed cabinets and showcased on presenters that will preserve them in their beautiful form. Conservation grade specialists; Gems Studio and my dear chum’s Proportion London were commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum to produce neck forms which would not only compliment the items on show but also ensure they were made with special materials to prevent the pearls from being spoilt. Using a barrier foil and conservation grade fabric, Gems and Proportion were able to successfully fulfil the design brief set by the museum.

Adding to the array of jewels on show is a necklace of cultured pearls given to Marilyn Monroe by fiancée Joe DiMaggio in 1954 along with pieces worn by Elizabeth Taylor. As I am sure you can imagine, I was in raptures of delight being in the presence of jewels owned by such Hollywood icons.

If like me you are intrigued by the history of such precious artefacts, this is defiantly an exhibition not to be missed! Open until 19th January 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

All images are copyright to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

For more information and to book your ticket visit their website http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-pearls/
For suitable neckforms on which to display your own pearls, see the precious jewellery presenter range by proportion London  http://proportionlondon.com/bg4-73-138-PRECIOUS-jewellery  

1 comment:

  1. Miss Mannequin, I love your blog! It would be awesome to interview you about exhibitionist life, fashion and work. Let me know if this appeals.
    Thanks, Ceri.