Pearls: A Personal Account of My Continued Passion

Pearls: A Personal Account of My Continued Passion

Hello & Welcome!

With Valentines behind us, I look forward to the next set of lovely windows and all the Easter themes.

Easter Window Display Ideas

There are so many interesting ways to celebrate Easter from the obvious but still lovely, Easter trees to wonderful splashes of colour, over sized bunny rabbits, chocolate props or with a spiritual connection. What ever the theme chosen the windows are always a pleasure! I really enjoy the spring colours. The freshness of the greens and the happy bold yellows married with the clashing colours of purple and pink. These energising colours making the windows eye popping and gorgeous, lifting our mood and raising the spirits!

One of my favourite Easter windows was with ostrich eggs and lime green feathers! simple and effective. Speaking of impact try not miss out on the Faberge displays and exhibition in Harrods. They have several windows dressed with over sized Eggs! I am going next week, I can’t wait!

Sainsburys’ Centre for the Visual Arts

I have had an interesting few days but the highlight has to be The Alphonse Mucha Exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia. On a bright and crisp Norfolk morning I drove to collect my dear friend. We have known each other for many years and share a passion for jewellery and beautiful art. In fact that’s how we became friends over a small but wonderful piece of Faberge jewellery.

Driving through the country lanes the landscape looked like a vast canvass painted in the winter colours of green, grey and brown. The light and shade cast by the golden sun was mesmerising, as if the earth and trees had been gilded.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sainsburys’ Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia it was designed between 1974 & 1976. The building is amazing, created by renowned architect Norman Foster. The building is a triumph in modern design. Light, spacious and airy with many functions including a large art/sculpture gallery. The surrounding landscape is also very beautiful and relaxing. This was designed by Lanning Roper; he added a lake and magnificent lime trees. Visually it is a treat before you walk through its doors.

We made our way to where the exhibition was being held. With huge expectations we stepped into the glass lift, we opened the doors and there we were presented with Alphonse Mucha paintings on every wall!

pearls, british pearl association, alphonse mucha

Czech born (1860 – 1939) Alphonse Mucha has had a huge influence and significance on the art world, with his fluid and unique style. ‘Le style Mucha’ is most definitely attached to the Art Nouveau Movement. Mucha believed that art is for everyone not just for the wealthy few. Hence a lot of his work is delivered through the power of advertising. One such piece is ‘Gismonda’ Mucha’s first art poster for the theatre (1894). This poster was before us, an elegant lady, tall, very beautiful and bedecked in fine clothes and jewellery held our gaze. The lady was Sarah Bernhardt the famous actress of the time who made the style of Art Nouveau very popular, expressed through art, design and jewellery. We were captivated!

british pearl association

Along side this painting was a glass cabinet with an exquisite sculpture, the caption read ‘Head of a Girl’, designed for the Paris exhibition in 1900 by Mucha for Houbigant a renowned perfumery company, which still is with us today. The head is made from bronze, silver and gilt ornamentation, the girls face was illuminated with a soft glow created by the metals used, serene and powerful all at once! Amazing!

The exhibition just kept getting better! Just when we thought it could not get any more perfect, we came across a jewellery cabinet with incredible Art Nouveau pieces. We were surprised and delighted. My heart leapt and I just melted into the moment. Inside the case was a decorated chain with two Alphonse Mucha pendant plagues painted with his signature girls faces, innocent and seductive at the same time. The chain itself is made of gold with bright enamel work, fresh water pearls, mother of pearl and smooth rounded pebble like, multi coloured gem stones including pretty Amethyst. This was exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exhibition, the creator was George Fouquet!!

Sitting along side in another case, designed by Rene Lalique in 1902, was a beautiful hair ornament fashioned from horn, gold, glass and enamel work with a finishing touch of a beautiful bright sparkling Diamond in the centre. The piece was dramatic yet understated, just the right amount of glamour without looking brash. We could not help imagine who had worn such a piece complete with elegant ball gown, dance card and with the anticipation of meeting her handsome stranger! Yes, you are right; we did get a little carried away!!

Pearls at their Finest

However, the best was yet to come. Placed on a stand was the Georges Fouquet Orchid Brooch (1898). Made from gold, enamel work, fresh water pearls and a cabochon cut central ruby, this brooch is magnificent. The  craftsmanship and technical expertise is a sight to behold. The movement and balance of the piece flows through its body. Spell bound it was hard to pull away.

british pearl association, pearls

After several hours of heaven, we had seen the exhibition. What an honour to see such art and jewellery, (the unexpected cherry on the cake). We decided the only way we could calm ourselves after being subjected to such beauty, was to have a pub lunch!

I hope in your day you see or experience something that makes your heart sing! It’s a hot chocolate right now for me!

Here’s to the next adventure! Happy Easter!

Yours passionate about Pearls, Maria x