See incredible pearl jewels worn by the likes of Charles I and Marilyn Monroe, plus discover the history of pearls at the V&A
Pearls provides a fascinating insight into the sourcing, trading, cultural significance and status of pearls throughout the ages, from the Roman Empire through Medieval times to the present day.
Discover the dangerous methods used in pearl fishing, learn about the technique used for producing cultured pearls and see more than 200 pieces of jewellery and works of art, including:
- A pearl-drop earring worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649
- A necklace of cultured pearls given to Marilyn Monroe by Joe DiMaggio in 1954
- Ancient Roman jewels made as early as the 1st century AD
- Paintings and portrait miniatures featuring nobles, courtiers and wealthy merchants wearing pearls
- Finely enamelled and pearl-framed buttons worn by George III (1780)
- A Maharaja's coat from India richly embroidered with pearls (1870)
- Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari pearl-drop pendant earrings (1972)
Objects come from the astounding collections of the V&A and its exhibition partner, the Qatar Museums Authority – as well as Tate Britain, the British Museum, the Royal Collection and leading jewellery houses such as YOKO London, Mikimoto, Tiffany & Co, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet and René Lalique.