This year I had the great fortune of being invited to the Kentucky Derby. To say that it is the most exciting 2 minutes in one’s life is an understatement. Not only was I there to witness all of the amazing hats, unbelievable outfits - both incredible and outlandish - but I also had the extremely good fortune to sit behind one of the owners of Animal Kingdom…..yes, the horse that won the Derby! She was beautiful, with a fantastic hat that looked like it was designed just for her, elegantly dressed in a dark suit that fit her to a T. And, to further compliment all of the above, she was wearing two strands of baroque pearls, one black and one white. Instantly pearls became my latest fixation - especially the iconoclastic shape of the baroque pearl. I am not alone in my adoration.
Pearls were first introduced during the reign of Alexander the Great, whose extraordinary imperial ambitions took him and his army to the mouth of the river Indus on the far borders of the Persian empire between 334 – 330 B. C. Upon his return, the general brought with him precious stones of all types, including pearls, which were accompanied by tales of their creation, how they were fished and their magical attributes.
Throughout the ages, pearls have adorned nobility, queens and kings and up until about 100 years ago, were more costly, desired and precious than diamonds. In fact, there is a very famous story of Mrs. Morton Plant who in 1910 sold her fabulous mansion at 52nd Street & 5th Ave. in New York to Cartier for a strand of pearls, which was worth, at the time, $1,000,000. Mrs. Plant traded her mansion to Cartier for the pearls enabling Cartier to occupy the location that they still maintain today!
There are even famous pearls like the tear-drop-shape Le Peregrina pearl that was discovered in the Gulf of Panama in the 16th century and was owned by several European royal families. In 1969, Richard Burton bought it for $37,000 at auction as a Valentine's Day present for Elizabeth Taylor, who proceeded to lose it in the shag carpet of a suite at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It was soon found slightly chewed up in her dog's mouth.
The love affair with pearls continues on today with movie starts, chic politicians, president’s wives, savvy business women, brides, women whose horse just won the Kentucky Derby or any woman who wants to add an air of sophistication to any outfit from jeans to a ball gown.
The most valuable of baroque pearls are the South Sea and Tahitian pearls. These pearls are produced by the Pinctada margaritifera (black-lipped oysters), and the Pinctada maxima (gold-lipped and white-lipped oysters). Although there are a variety of cultured saltwater pearls, the amount of time that the pearls are cultured dramatically increases the depth of the nacre and the likelihood of producing a baroque pearl.
If you have read this far down, you probably have gathered that we have a strand of Baroque pearls…..good assumption! It’s a gorgeous strand from the warm South Seas and are an amazing size of 16 – 15 millimeters. Each one is a separate and individual work of art by Nature. Baroque pearls are unique in style which sets them apart from any other pearl. Don’t get me wrong, traditional round pearls are beautiful and elegant but Baroque pearls are exciting and tell of the wearer's free spirit and non-conformist style.
You may know the very woman these would be perfect for and she doesn’t ever have to have a horse running in the Derby. Give me a call as soon as possible. I have a feeling these pearls will not be around for very long.