Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

Anne Boleyn (nee, Anne Bullen), in pearls

There is no doubt that pearls are an exquisite addition to just about any look, and have the power to give a lift to even the basic boy-cut shirt and jeans. I have been wearing pearls since teenagehood (in the 70s, this was not a terribly popular look, I can assure you). But I soldiered on, with my side part and bob (this in the midst of Susan Dey-mania, when every girl had center-parted long hair), tortoise-shell barrette and Docksiders, pretty much skipping the double-knit and bell-bottoms trend. But I digress...

Ah, yes...PEARLS. They've been prized for centuries by women of means, monarchs and the celebrated. Scores of portraits show their subjects dripping in them.

My indirect ancestor Anne Boleyn is shown wearing her famous "B" necklace adorned with pearls. (No one knows what happened to that necklace after her beheading...) She was not known for her looks, but was renowned for her style and fashion sense.

There are many types of pearls, some more valuable than others. The best ones are typically natural pearls (as opposed to cultured, or man-influenced pearls). The best among the natural are the Akoya, South Sea or other saltwater pearls. There are also freshwater pearls that have become popular due to their affordability.

In terms of style, I believe every woman needs a pearl wardrobe. This includes the following basics:

Pearl stud earrings in at least two sizes (9 and 11 millimeter)
Pearl cluster earrings
Graduated single-strand necklace
Large-millimeter non-graduated single strand
Triple or quad-strand necklace (think Jackie's famous ones)
Bracelet--preferably a double strand

Other nice-to-haves include the extra-long double strand that reaches way down below the bustline.

It's also terribly grand to have pearls in various colors. I love the look of the black or grey pearls as well as the white.

Once you've achieved the pearl wardrobe above, it's then fun to move into costume or "faux" bold pearl accessories.

I've included some of my "good" pearl wardrobe below...
Pearl and diamond button earrings

Classic small triple strand
Large biwa in gold wire
Matching bracelet
Classic 18" graduated
Triple-pearl cluster earrings

Single strand with horsey clasp

Freshwater toursade
South sea strand
Multi-color triple strand
Large striple strand
Pearls with coral

There used to be an old axiom that it was bad luck to wear pearls other than those given you by your husband. That seems to have gone away...many of mine have been gift to self! I wear mine with everything--from black-tie to T-shirts.

Not knit one but pearl two,


Gwennie said...

I wear pearls every single day. Even at the births of my sons. A friend of mine kids me that no one would recognize me, if I didn't have them on!

Jo said...

Great post ~ your collection of pearls is lovely!

Pearls are my statement piece daily. I have generations of pearls beginning with my great grandmother's triple strand necklace. Almost daily I wear my mothers with my initial pendant on them. I love that pearls go with everything ~ you can dress them up or down.


Beth Dunn said...

Love all the pearls-so pretty!

bevysblog said...

I wear a strand every day! Love them...

EntertainingMom said...

I just wrote a post on pearls as well though quite different. Aren't they the most wonderful things ever?

uncoolmom17 said...

Lovely. Thank you for sharing!

teaorwine said...

Lovely collection of pearls! I am in the middle of watching The Tudors series, so loved the reference to Anne Boleyn.

margaret hudson said...

Where oh where would we be without our pearls???

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Living well is the best revenge...and a choice we make every day. Join me as I celebrate the bounty of beauty in all its forms: fashion, homestyle, accessories and everyday richness...as I juggle the roles of Mommy, wife, daughter, dog mommy, creative director, Zumba instructor, volunteer...all with more than a passing glance backward to an old-school, classic time when style was a way of life