blog.php-40 1962 photographs of John F. Kennedy, Jr. playing with Jackie O's necklace at the White House. Sold for $190 000 at Sotheby's auction of the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, April 25, 1996 in New York.

Whether natural or cultured, pearls remain at the heart of jewelry design. Coco Chanel, Jackie O and Elizabeth Taylor: images of women with the most enviable style are conjured up in the mind when you imagine ropes of pearls elegantly draped over an outfit.

blog.php-5 Pair of pearl and white gold earrings
Sold for $150

Natural pearls are a wonder. They are formed delicately without any human intervention. When a parasite comes into contact with a clam, mussel or oyster, the defensive reaction of the mollusc is to create a fluid to coat the infected area. This coating, called a nacre, is built up over layers and from this a pearl is created.

Looking at a pearl, you can see the iridescent layers that have built up from this process. These layers give the pearl a wonderful texture and contoured shape.

Pair of diamond earrings and pearls $250 Pair of diamond earrings and pearls
Sold for $250

Yellow gold and cultured pearl ringSold for $185 Yellow gold and cultured pearl ring
Sold for $185

Cultured pearls are created by placing a parasite inside an oyster in the same way as what happens naturally in the sea. The mollusc forms the nacre layers in an act of defence which deposits a pearl.

Gold earrings and Tahitian pearlsSold for $250 Gold earrings and Tahitian pearls
Sold for $250

Yellow gold and cultured pearl ringSold for $185 Yellow gold and cultured pearl ring
Sold for $190

Used in jewelry since the beginning of antiquity, pearls are timeless. Whether white, pink, grey or even gold, they combine elegance, tradition and perfection.

Yellow gold pendant and pearls £300 Yellow gold pendant and pearls
Sold for $300

Gold ring, diamonds and cultured pearlSold for $500 Gold ring, diamonds and cultured pearl
Sold for $500

Necklace of three rows of cultured pearlsSold for $150 Necklace of three rows of cultured pearls
Sold for $150

Pearls are a wonderful piece to buy on the secondary market as for centuries master craftsmen from history through to Art Nouveau to Art Deco have turned to pearls for inspiration.

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