Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

         I’ve been stringing pearls…a string for a dear friend’s birthday, and a string for myself – one of my favorite strands had broken. It reminded me that I had read some very interesting things lately about pearls, and I thought I would share them with you. Many cultures revere the pearl, and it is often considered a very precious gem, second only to the diamond.

        I read a lovely novel entitled “Anna and Her Daughters” by E.B. Stevenson in which one of the girls is given an extremely valuable strand of pearls to wear, but the pearls are “sick” and unrecognizable. You see, from what I understand from the novel, pearls need some moisture, or they dry out and become “sick.” The idea was that the girl would wear the pearls and see if their lustre would return. (I won’t tell you what they represented or what happened in case you want to read the book!) Using my trusty search engine, I tried to discover if this was something that would truly occur – that pearls would deteriorate if not worn, and possibly return to  their prior beauty if worn. I found an legendary reference to in the New York Times from 1892 to some sick pearls belonging to the Archduchess Rainier. According to the legend, her pearls had become sick from disuse, and a special locked cage had been designed for them, and they had been immersed in the Adriatic, where they were slowly regaining their lustre (the small part of the article that I was able to read can be found here http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9B0DE6DA1E39E033A25755C0A96F9C94639ED7CF). The Archduchess Ranier is reported to have been Carlotta, wife of Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, who built Castle Miramar. Another archduchess,  Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, loved pearls,  for her husband gave her a string of pearls with the birth of each of her ten children.

Miramar Castle on the Adriatic Sea, below which the pearls were supposedly submerged

        Apparently, none of this is true. However, experts do state that pearls need some moisture to retain their beauty. So, ladies, wear your pearls. Don’t let them languish in the jewelry box! I believe in using beautiful things – there is a lesson in the fact that the beauty of pearls diminish over time if not appreciated through use…. 

(Thanks to G.Kunz’s book “The Book of the Pearl” which helped me in my little search for the truth of the story about the Archduchess’s pearls. The book is out of print, and some of it can be viewed online…or you may purchase it from Amazon for $1400.00. No, rather, skip it and go buy some pearls….)

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