June 05, 2017
Pearls have, throughout the run of time, been associated with women, or those females that are of a mature age. Many tend to believe that pearls are simply not correlated to modern fashion in any way and are a rather classical and antique vogue. I must object and say that this is a rather inaccurate depiction of the true nature of the mighty pearl. In fact, ask any designer or fashion advocate, and they themselves will rave to you about the endless charm and might of the shining pearl.
But what does this shining pearl stand for? Since long ago, it has been thought to symbolize purity and peaceful beauty, one that captures the eye and dares it to find a sight better than itself. Various religions and cultures present a number of different and interesting theories regarding the existence of the pearl.
Some say they are the frozen tears of Luna while others say they are the condensed products of the bath water of the God of Venus herself. Regardless, the pearl has been regarded sacred and precious by everyone alike.
These precious crystals have been used for decoration and adornment purposes ever since the evolution of mankind into a social specie, dating back to almost 2000 BC in China.
Gradually it spread, as it was taken to the Europeans through the Crusades.
Ever since, the magic of the pearl has been instilled in all and everyone has cherishedit as a noble jewel worthy of being adorned by those with the highest honors.
Pearls and oil paintings have a long history together, one that dates back to as old as the 13th century in the Renaissance era.
In the 17th century, the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer masterfully began to make the sacrilegious pearls part of his art, including the incredibly famous “The girl with the pearl earring” where a girl is seen adorning a shiny pearl earring in her little ear. The technique that he uses in his painting emphasizes the style that was popular in those days and also highlights the importance of the prominent pearl.
In those times, pearls were a sign of royalty and were generally used to signify noble and grand personalities. This can be clearly reflected in the work of the masterful Jacques Louis David who paints the Coronation of Napoleon in Notre Dame, Paris, 1804, the crown being bestowed on queen’s head glowing with shining stones, confirming a classic use of such jewelry. The Josephine Royal Crown, that was embellished with a hundred tiny pearls was passed down generation to generation in the royal line.
Pearls became especially associated with the British royalty. While in her younger days, Queen Elizabeth I was not fond of any over the top decorations, she later became rather fond of pearls and boasted quite a vast collection of these shiny micro moons. As Horace Walpole describes in the portraits he has painted of the Queen, she sported a “bushel of pearls”, signifying her fondness with the light catching jewel. Even the trend of wearing long, overlaid beads of pearls in the neck originated from the Queen when her sweetheart, Robert, designed a two meter long chain made of gleaming pearls to show his will of guarding her whole life.
Auguste Renoir was indeed a genius and a master of the twentieth century, unparalleled in impressionist art. We see that as he paints portraits of his lovers and muses in subtle, muted colors and soft and subdued strokes, he makes sure to make prominent the jewelry that adorns the necks of these women. Ribbons of pearls layering in their necks, painted in a soft manner to exude elegance and exquisiteness. This was the time when earrings and rings lost their importance and the likes of pearls gained traction and popularity as the lead embellishments.
In today’s world, the 21st century, the impact of the pearl can simply not be ignored. The ways of using it have altered yet its importance in the modern vogue never seems to lessen any more than it used to be. They are still a memorial of defining elegance, beauty and ethereal glow- as true a fashionable jewel as one can be. It has been, is, and always will be a strong fashion statement.
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