Elegance In Opalescence: The Lustrous Beauty Of Classic Pearls

The Elegance Of Pearls...
The Elegance Of Pearls…

The beauty of the pearl. Remarkable beauty from nature, indeed. It could be stated that there is nothing as glamourous as wearing pearls. “Ropes and ropes of pearls”. Certainly a significant statement of perfection, the pearl will forever be a symbol of beauty, affluence and elegance.

Pearls are unique compared to other gemstones, as the pearl is the only gem that is grown inside of a living creature. It is also the oldest known gem to mankind. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly esteemed and highly valued for centuries. Timeless. The English word “Pearl” is derived from the French word “Perle”, originally from the Latin word “Perna”. The word “Pearl” has evolved into a metaphor for what is “rare”, “fine”, “admirable” and “valuable”. Perhaps the finest of what nature “Gifts” from the shell

Gifts Of The Sea:  The Revered Pearl
Gifts Of The Sea: The Revered Pearl

This hard object of iridescent luster is produced within the soft tissue (the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Like the shell of a clam, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form deposited in concentric layers. Although the “perfect pearl” is perfectly round and smooth, many other types of pearls exist. The most valuable of pearls are said to occur spontaneously in the wild, but are extremely rare. Who knew? These “wild pearls” are referred to as “Natural pearls”. “Cultured” or “Farmed” pearls are from pearl oysters and freshwater mussels and make up the majority of “common pearls”. Alas, perhaps no pearl is common, but a gem to be appreciated! Interestingly, it is the reaction of an implant of tissue into a recipient shell that forms a graft which in turn will form a pearl sac. A reaction that results in opalescent beauty. Cultured elegance of enduring status. It is said that of all of the types of pearls that exist in the world today, 95% are cultured and only 5% are natural. Quite a ratio. Certainly one can understand the value acquired to the “Natural pearl” that graces the shell from which it is formed. Although imitation pearls are widely available in the forms of varied jewelry, the quality certainly varies. The quality of the iridescence of the pure, distinguishable genuine pearl cannot be compared, however. Whether the rare “Natural” pearl or the masses of “Cultured” pearls, the allure, splendor and magnificence of pearls is elegance beyond compare.

Throughout the history of fashion, pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelry and have been lavishly stitched onto garments of fashion. Of interest, pearls have also been crushed and incorporated into cosmetics, medicines and in paint formulations. Again, who knew? Whether wild or cultured, gem quality pearls are typically always iridescent as is the interior of the shell that creates these glorious gems. Of the family of “Nacreous Pearl Bivalves”, the pearl oyster lives in the sea whereas another bivalve of Mussels lives in freshwater (thus, the “Freshwater Pearl”). The unique luster of pearls depends upon the “reflection, refraction” and diffraction” of light from the translucent layers”. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence is caused by the “overlapping of successive layers which breaks up light falling onto the surface”. Interesting. In addition, pearls (particularly freshwater pearls) can be dyed various colors, including black. Stunning, for certain and the mere idea of black is certainly thought provoking…), yet it is the “pearly white” pearl and its “Creamy White” variations that I return to. With the metallic mirror-like luster, the opalescent glory these gems of nature provide us is timeless beauty that we will never tire to adorn ourselves with

Vintage Allure: The Pearl Necklace
Vintage Allure: The Pearl Necklace
Vintage Elegance In "Pearls"
Vintage Elegance In “Pearls”
Classic Images Of Pearls:  Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor & Jacqueline  Bouvier (Kennedy)
Classic Images Of Pearls: Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor & Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy)

Of course, one cannot venture far in the discussion of pearls than to pay homage to the attention to the pearl that was bestowed them by the iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel. Chanel represented pearls like none other. “Ropes and ropes of glistening pearls were a requirement for Chanel

Coco Chanel's Iconic & Enduring Style:  Pearls
Coco Chanel’s Iconic & Enduring Style: Pearls
A 1990's Classic:  Linda Evangelista & Christy Turlington In Chanel Pearls
A 1990’s Classic: Linda Evangelista & Christy Turlington In Chanel Pearls
"Chanel's Pearls"
“Chanel’s Pearls”
The Pearl:  A Symbol Of Beauty
The Pearl: A Symbol Of Beauty
The Enduring Allure Of Lustrous Pearls
The Enduring Allure Of Lustrous Pearls
Fashion's Archives:  The Iconic Pearl
Fashion’s Archives: The Iconic Pearl

And of the influence of the “Great Gatsby” and the pearls that flowed like the champagne? A worthy tribute to the iconic elegance and lavish adornment of pearls, for certain…

Tiffany's  Pearls & The Opulence Of The "Great Gatsby"
Tiffany’s Pearls & The Opulence Of The “Great Gatsby”

Consider the pearl. Consider “ropes and ropes” of pearls. Consider the radiant and polished classic pearl earring. A woman should not be without pearls in her cache of fine jewelry. And if time is to pass before one can acquire a “Cultured” pearl of beauty? I say seek out the best imitation that is within your means and acquire it. Great style is simply “presenting” a classic style. Fashion is an attitude. Faux pearls of high quality are better than none, for I agree with Coco Chanel. A woman does need pearls. At least one “rope” of opalescent shine…


“A Woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls” – Coco Chanel

City Inspirations: Chicago In May

City Inspirations:  Chicago In May

Chicago in May. A city that is repeatedly transformed by the changing seasons, Chicago once again provides a sense of renewal and change. A city woven with the waterways and brides over the Chicago River, this visit found the tour boats en masse. Perhaps filled with those also seeking inspiration or simply enjoyment of a beautiful day in the city laden with architectural interest…

Chicago In May
Chicago In May

Having ventured into the city later in the month, by now the embellishment and adornment of red, white and blue filled my view from flag poles towering from buildings and banners that lined the city streets. A city acknowledging the arrival of Memorial Day and the simultaneous celebration of Summer. Patriotic music could be heard in the area known as the “Chicago Loop”, furthering a sense of American Patriotism. Who would not be completely stunned to come upon a “Marie Antoinette” coiffed star studded mannequin wrapped in Americana emblems? Fantastic! Unexpected visual pleasure, indeed. Windows filled with Americana acknowledgments certainly brighten the festive mood that the holiday weekend brings to the throngs of people that filled the streets.

Chicago In May:  A "Red, White & Blue" Memorial Day Tribute
Chicago In May: A “Red, White & Blue” Memorial Day Tribute

And of the visual representations and the influence of the “Great Gatsby” and the Art Deco world that it is swirled among? The visual references found as I journeyed through the city streets certainly brought my focus to the architectural details of Art Deco embellishments. Of course the windows of Tiffany’s would present a tribute to the strands of pearls that would have cascaded from the necks of those that swooned gracefully in an era of sheer luxury. Chicago benefits from the glory of the sleek, geometric, dramatic and gilded architectural details that adorn the streamlined buildings that still stand as icons of a past era. Gold and black patterns of distinctive design. Austere distinction of a past era of luxury that will never fade. Timeless as the pages filled by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Never to fade.

Chicago:  "The Great Gatsby" & The Art Deco Embellishments That Remain With Distinction
Chicago: “The Great Gatsby” & The Art Deco Embellishments That Remain With Distinction

And of the word luxury? Befitting in acknowledging a trip down North Michigan Avenue. Immersed in luxury, for certain. Chicago in May is inspiring. An evolving city that is constantly changing. As life evolves, our appreciation of those things around us is also evolving. Chicago, and life, is beautiful indeed…


On a side note… I must admit that I find it exciting to be the cause of awareness as to the subject that my camera is pointed at. The awareness that causes passerbys to pause and focus their attentions onto something that may not ordinarily have found their attentions? Thrilling. The possibility to inspire others to look around, look closer and appreciate? Absolutely thrilling. And so it is, my camera and I, once again focused on storefront windows, focussing on the mannequins adorned with stylish takes of a warmer season. Yet again, pausing to admire the architectural details and elements of the city that rise around me. My eyes continually finding details that inspire my lens. I hope you, too, find inspiration…