Friday, July 3, 2009

Piling on the Pearls

Coco Chanel is sometimes credited with creating the fashion for wearing masses of pearls, but this isn't quite true. What she pioneered was the mingling of the real and the faux. If you look at the old photos, she didn't really pile them on, either--she was all about elegance and ease rather than over-the-top display.

For that totally trussed look you need to turn to the Edwardians and east Asian nobility, who were the all-time pearly kings and queens.

Here (with bonus historical dish) are Dowager Queen Alexandra (above): who may or may not have started the trend for wearing choker necklaces to hide a scar on her neck, which may or may not have resulted from a failed suicide attempt.

Next is sad American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt (left)--admire her posture, for she got it by being forced to wear a steel rod as a child to stand up straight).

Last but not least the Rana of Dholpur (below), who once won a train in a horse race.

Their pearls are real, but there's no reason not to mimic the look, on a more moderate scale following Coco's example.


  1. Pearls are so resplendently lovely! I would adore owning real ones someday, but am content with the lovely faux ones that are on the market these days.

    Wishing you a beautiful Wednesday,
    ♥ Jessica

  2. Hi Jessica!

    Thanks so much for commenting . . . BUT! You can own real ones. Lovely vintage cultured pearls are regularly up for sale on eBay, going for around $30-40 (with a sterling clasp). The ones from the 50s tend to be much better quality than many contemporary cultured pearls, since they have a thicker nacre (left in the oysters longer than currently, more patient back then in many ways!). Have a look and best regards!

  3. Hello! I just would like to give huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon. Pacific Pearls International