V&A Pearls exhibition: the world’s best pearl jewellery


Maria Doulton: Today I’m at the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London, and I’m here to look at the pearls exhibition. Now, this exhibition
comes along at such a good time, as there’s been a huge interest in pearls recently. What’s
so great about this exhibition is that it unites both the natural history of pearls
– how they’re formed; where they come from – as well as the history of pearls; their
symbolism, and what pearl jewellery has looked like through the ages, and all shown in 200
spectacular jewels. We had a chance to chat to Hubert Bari, who
is a curator of the Qatar Pearl collection. Tell me, Hubert, why are pearls so special? Hubert Bari: The pearl is special for many,
many reasons. First of all, it is the only gem produced by a living creature. Natural
pearls are so rare that there are virtually none found today, so we are living on an existing
stock and recycling of antique jewellery. I wanted to show that pearls are not just
fashionable for Grandma but for today’s young people too; I hope to help rehabilitate the
pearl. I think we succeeded – we have beautiful contemporary jewels on display. We’re showing
that pearls are as valuable as diamonds. Maria: You’ve told me about one necklace that
is particularly notable. Hubert: It is a beautiful necklace made by
Cartier in 1930, during Art Deco period, with a spacer made in platinum, which is exquisite
work. But the pearls are astonishing, because they are graded in size. Maria: They’re all natural pearls? Hubert: All natural pearls. They start from
5mm at each end and, in the middle, the final one in the centre is 11mm. The beauty of the
grading; the perfection of the lustre; the homogeneity of the colour makes this necklace
one of the most beautiful ever created. Emma Clarke: In the V&A exhibition we’ve got
some beautiful pieces. But one of my favourite pieces is the Yaguruma, which is, in Japanese,
“Wheels of arrows”. This was a beautiful sash clip made of cultured pearls; Akoya pearls.
However, this piece can be taken apart and made into 12 different pieces of jewellery,
so hair ornaments, but also rings and brooches. This piece is very, very important, I think,
because this is a really important mark for Mikimoto as a jeweller. Maria: If you want to know all that’s happening
in the world of jewellery and watches, visit my website, thejewelleryeditor.com.

5 thoughts on “V&A Pearls exhibition: the world’s best pearl jewellery

  1. I think I somehow missed this video when it came out. I cannot imagine a more exquisite video would be possible.

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