Thursday, 9 January 2014

I recently visited the new V&A Pearls exhibition, which displayed the most exquisite of pearls from Roman times up to present day and Mikimoto.

Pearls have long been a favourite in Anzu illustrations, as on our Congratulations card which features painted Diamond and pearl strands, so the exhibition was very inspiring.

There was a combination of amazing pearl jewels and tiaras, portraits and even Queen Elizabeth II's soft gold evening dress worn for a Paris state event. It was decorated with the most beautiful bee, wild flower and wheat motifs. Absolutely lavish in detail with exquisite gold embroidered leaves and seed pearls scattered across the gown.

The most ethereal Elizabethan portrait. In periods of this portrait pearls were a symbol of fertility and life.

There were also many celebrity pieces: Elizabeth Taylor's ear-rings, Marilyn Monroe's Mikimoto choker and most amazingly King Charles I's Pearl earring, which he was wearing when he was executed(read more of that story here)

There was also an impressive array of tiaras. This crown-shaped hat was from Lucknow and embroidered with tinsel (!) and seed pearls.

Tiaras have often featured on Anzu products. Here is a detail of our Queen's jewels print. This illustration was inspired by the Cambridge Lover's knot tiara, which features diamonds and large Oriental pearl drops.

Images via V&A, and Anzu Ltd

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