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Pearls: perennial style

The trademark jewel of the most powerful, influential and stylish of women is the pearl. The rarity of fine examples coupled with the difficulty of obtaining them are two facts that have made pearls an historical metaphor for great women. The very appearance of pearls, their glowing luster and slight iridescence has been likened to the beauty of women.

Common to portraits of queens, aristocrats, heads of state and first ladies is the wearing of pearls. Queen Elizabeth I of England acquired large and unusual pearls for the Tudor dynastic treasury, which contributed to the wealth of the realm. Another monarch, Catherine the Great of Russia, used the purchase of pearls and art as a political weapon to gain European dominance of objects that defined a nation's wealth. Photos of the first modern First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, reveal her delight in wearing pearls. Such is also the style of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Women of fashion have always emulated the royal taste for pearls. The French developed a method for making non-melting wax pearls. A glass nucleus enrobed in a semi-transculent wax and lacquered outer coating could be drilled for stringing or be used alone to set like gems. In the 1920s, the simulated pearls of American mfgs were a close imitation of the real thing. They were made in different grades and clasped with gold or platinum. The fever for imitation pearls resulted in a slowdown in the genuine oriental pearl business.

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Laguna Beach Dark Gold Pearl Necklace N1380-DG | Sweet Romance Caroline Bronze Magnifier Necklace | Sweet Romance
Caroline Bronze Magnifier Necklace
Price: $82.00
On Sale: $65.60
Lily of the Valley Brooch P585 | Sweet Romance Lily of the Valley Hair Barrette B533 | Sweet Romance
Lily of the Valley Art Nouveau Pearl Flower Wedding Earrings E586 | Sweet Romance Forest Green Intaglio & Pearl Necklace | Sweet Romance
Crystal Bow Pearl Necklace N1296 | Sweet Romance Opal Glass, Pearl Coin Necklace | Sweet Romance
Opal Glass, Pearl Coin Necklace
Price: $89.00
On Sale: $71.20
Flower & Pearl Dangle Earrings Baroque Pearl and Flower Necklace
Pearl Flowers & Heart Necklace Classic Pearl Necklace | Sweet Romance
Pearl Flowers & Heart Necklace
Price: $59.00
On Sale: $47.20
Baroque Pearl Necklace
Price: $39.00
On Sale: $31.20
Navette Vine Earrings E415 | Sweet Romance Daisy Leaves Bracelet | Sweet Romance
Lily of the Valley Bracelet BR585 | Sweet Romance Art Deco 52" Knotted Long Cultura Pearl Rope Necklace N541-CU | Sweet Romance
Art Deco 52" Knotted Long White Pearl Rope Necklace N541-WH | Sweet Romance Art Deco 52" Knotted Long Pearl Rope Necklace N541 | Sweet Romance
Rose Collar Earrings E1501 | Sweet Romance Jewel Loop Earrings | Sweet Romance
Jewel Loop Earrings
Price: $49.00
Jewel Loop Necklace | Sweet Romance Swallow and Pearls Necklace | Sweet Romance
Jewel Loop Necklace
Price: $52.00
Crystal Pearl Earring E1059-NEW | Sweet Romance Daisy Pearl Flower Wedding Earrings | Sweet Romance
Crystal Bow Pearl Earrings E1265 | Sweet Romance Laguna Beach Pearl Earrings E1364 | Sweet Romance
Laguna Beach Pearl Necklace N1380 | Sweet Romance Laguna Beach Oyster Pearl Necklace N1380-OY | Sweet Romance
Laguna Beach Pearl Necklace
Price: $47.00
On Sale: $37.60
Laguna Beach Oyster Pearl Necklace N1380-OY
Price: $47.00
On Sale: $37.60
Pearl or Crystal Wedding Earrings E872 | Sweet Romance Jewel Encrusted & Pearl Necklace N952-HQ | Sweet Romance
Jewel Encrusted & Pearl Necklace
Price: $152.00
On Sale: $121.60