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Experience the beauty and allure of pearls which across centuries and cultures have long been associated with wealth, royalty and glamour. This autumn the V&A and the Qatar Museums Authority explore the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire through to present day.
On display is a stunning array of jewellery showcasing the variety of shapes and colours of pearls from established favourites such as Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, René Lalique and Tiffany, through to contemporary artist jewellers. The exhibition also looks at the creation of cultured pearls through Mikimoto and the impact this has had.
Highlights include rare natural specimens, Mary Queen of Scots’ necklace, a group of magnificent tiaras worn by European royalty, delicate art nouveau and striking art deco pieces and a pair of pearl drop earrings owned by Elizabeth Taylor. Painted portraits and photographs provide the backdrop to document the fashion for wearing pearls and their symbolism in East and West.