Arab Today, arab today pearls reveal little objects of deep desire
Last Updated : GMT 17:11:03
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Pearls reveal little objects of deep desire

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Pearls reveal little objects of deep desire

London - Arab Tday

As the models for the American label Badgley Mischka floated down the runway at New York Fashion Week last Tuesday, something fascinating occurred. This is a forward-thinking label tailored for the red carpet, yet its new collection of gowns, palazzo trousers and skirts was embroidered with a gem whose history goes back many millennia, is intrinsically linked with the Arabian Gulf, and is more readily associated with the age of Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. But the fact that Badgley Mischka was using pearls in the collection doesn’t surprise the jewellery historian Beatriz Chadour-Sampson. “Pearls are still culturally important and enjoyable to wear,” she says. Chadour-Sampson is also a co-curator for Pearls, a new exhibition looking at the scientific, historical and cultural effect of the gem, opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum on Saturday. Well, newish. Its first incarnation was in Qatar in 2010 and a different version of the show travelled to Japan last year. The London exhibition, however, is probably the most crowd-­pleasing yet, more focused on the use of pearls in jewellery throughout history, from Roman times up to the present day, showing new pieces from the British Museum, the Royal Collection and Tate Britain. Even the pearl earring worn by the British King Charles I when he was executed in 1649 is on display. But a loan from the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) in Doha “embodies everything about the story of pearls” for Chadour-Sampson. “It’s a Cartier necklace from 1939 – Jacques Cartier used to travel to the Gulf to export pearls and the ones in this graduated necklace are of exceptional quality and lustre,” she says. “But what you also have to remember is that there’s probably one pearl for every 2,000 oysters fished, so the amount of time that the fishermen had to spend underwater to achieve this necklace is staggering. They were out on the sea for months, encrusted in salt. We make sure in the exhibition that we pay tribute to these divers who risked their lives to get these beautiful pearls.” So it’s right that the first sections of the new exhibition focus on the history of pearl discovery, fishing and trading in the Arabian Gulf. Chadour-Sampson’s co-curator Hubert Bari, from the QMA, is keen to emphasise that before the oil boom, pearl diving was one of the only ways to sustain the local economy in the region. “They’re not only beautiful gems; they have a long and interesting history,” he says. “Archaeological excavations confirm that pearls were being fished in the Gulf at least 7,000 years ago and traded with Northern Europe and China over 3,000 years ago. I think this is a story worth telling. “We show that pearls are not only black or white but can be red, green, blue, pink, orange. What’s fascinating is that they were not worn in the Gulf itself as they were not seen as beautiful; they were instead a means to survive.” Although there have been recent attempts to revive the practice in the Gulf, the combination of overfishing at the turn of the 20th century, the beginnings of the oil economy, the Great Depression and the advent of cultured pearls from the Japanese company Mikimoto was fatal to a thriving local industry. But for Chadour-Sampson, Mikimoto Kokichi’s democratisation of jewellery – it was his dream that every girl should have a pearl necklace – is an important part of this exhibition, highlighted by the inclusion of a cultured pearl necklace given to Marilyn Monroe by Joe DiMaggio. “I’m certainly not a purist,” she says. “Don’t forget that Jackie Kennedy promoted the use of pearls very much in the 1960s, but she was wearing imitation ones.” But for all the connections with 20th-century opulence, the show actually draws to a close with a snapshot of contemporary pearl jewellery. Chadour-Sampson argues that they are still very popular with designers and jewellery houses – and she thinks she knows why. “Pearls are amazing in their symbolism,” she says. “Across history they’ve represented not only happiness and sadness, authority and power, but also femininity and purity. To me, they’re a phenomenon.”  

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today pearls reveal little objects of deep desire Arab Today, arab today pearls reveal little objects of deep desire

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Saudis await visitors but will they come?

GMT 11:54 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Saudis await visitors but will they come?
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Blind sheikh buried in Egypt

GMT 06:32 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Blind sheikh buried in Egypt
Arab Today, arab today Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success

GMT 15:32 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success
View News in Arabic - Culture: أخبار الثقافة والفنون
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today To hold social dialogue over secondary school

GMT 07:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

To hold social dialogue over secondary school
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'

GMT 05:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 06:41 2017 Monday ,20 February

Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 07:51 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Mom's immune system accepts babies

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday