Do you love the look, touch and exquisiteness of precious pearls? If so, you’ll be in for a treat if you take a trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum between now and January 19, 2014.
Pearls are the subject of a new exhibition at the V&A. From common cultured pearls to genuine rare natural ones, which are far more valuable, there will be a myriad of beautiful and lustrous pearls on display at this rather unique exhibition.
You may be a fan of pearls but do you actually know where they come from? Precious pearls are found inside certain shellfish and vary considerably in their delicacy, from regular to extremely exquisite. Pearls are made up inside the molluscs by many layers of calcium carbonate deposits in microscopic crystalline form.
The word ‘Pearl’ has become somewhat of a metaphor for something fine, rare, precious or admirable. These beautiful gemstones have been sought after and coveted for thousands of years. They are not easy to get, which inevitably adds to their appeal, and people have even lost their lives diving for these precious stones. So sought-after are they that pearls often end up in the collections of kings and queens and the fifthly rich.
For centuries natural pearls were the only pearls in existence until man inevitably had to interfere. By placing a small seed inside the mollusc shell, which promotes pearl growth, plastic and cultured pearls are produced. Natural pearl collectors in both fresh water and salt water have to open and kill many molluscs before they eventually find a pearl and even then the gem might not be that spectacular.
This particularly dazzling exhibition at the V&A includes the actual pearl earring that King Charles I was wearing when he had his head lopped off by Oliver Cromwell.
Ancient Roman jewels that have been around for 2000 years are also on display at exiting exhibition, as is the pearl and enamel buttons from George III’s coat. If that isn’t enticing enough, the pearls of Marylyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor are also on display. Visitors can even feast their eyes on a pearl encrusted coat once owned by a super rich Maharaja from Victorian times when the British ruled India.
An adult ticket for this especially alluring exhibition costs £10.00. You can book a ticket from the V&A Museum website.