Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

5.19.2013

String of Pearls

[17th-century mother-of-pearl English purse with silver-gilt braid. V & A collection.]  
Even if I hadn't been there to focus on the costume design, Catherine Martin's use of pearls in The Great Gatsby couldn't have escaped my attention because Tiffany's pearl-filled Gatsby Collection windows happen to be adjacent to the elevator that leads to the theater where I saw the movie.

[Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.]


Leaving the theater, some of the objects still in my head were the tasseled pearl strands and the pearl hand jewelry (see sketches in this Vogue video). Does the V & A have a hand piece like that, I wondered? Something from the 20s? Doing a search, I got distracted and zeroed in on the much older, less glitzy, little mother-of-pearl bag pictured at top. But come fall 2013, visitors to the Museum can see a host of opulent examples in Pearls, on view September 21 through January 19, 2014. The exhibition will span many centuries, from early Rome to 20th century NYC,  exploring the significance of natural and cultured pearls. Look for designs from Cartier, Bulgari, and Tiffany, including art deco styles.

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