Pearl

Mother of pearl, often engraved, has some rare use in Ancient Egyptian jewellery. In Ancient Greece, pearls were more established, in his description of Juno, Homer writes, “Earrings bright/ With triple drops that cast a trembling light” (Odyssey, XVIII). The Ancient Roman taste for pearls was somewhat more decadent; the wealth of the expanding Roman Empire inspired an exceptional desire for what the poet Manlius described as the “gems of the sea, which resemble milk and snow.” Pliny writes of the extent of the aristocracies taste for pearl adornment of their clothing, “It is not sufficient for them to wear pearls, but they must trample and walk over them.” The price of pearls reflected this; Seneca goes further saying, “Pearls offer themselves to my view. Simply one for each ear? No! The lobes of our ladies have attained a special capacity for supporting a great number. Two pearls alongside of each other, with a third suspended above, now form a single earring! The crazy fools seem to think that their husbands are not sufficiently tormented unless they wear the value of an inheritance in each ear!”

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close