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Women in Pearls: Memorable Portraits and Photos Through the Ages

Updated on February 28, 2018
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The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.


Women in Pearls: Wearing A Timeless Gem

Women in pearls make a timeless statement. Whether the statement is one of innocence, sexuality, power, purity or wealth, the woman and the clothes frame the statement and the viewer interprets.

Pearls are most importantly a reflection of the wearer's interpretation of their meaning. Time and again business women remark that adding pearls to their "power suit" gives an extra edge to their confidence. Pearls with jeans say "I'm comfortable and I'm stylish." Pearl studs in a toddler's ears say "Im adorable."

Pearls are a favorite of the both the photographer and the painter. Artist have painted women in pearls throughout the ages. There is sure to be a cave drawing with a woman wearing an adornment of pearls in some manner!

As an organic gem that "magically" appears in the oyster's shell, pearls have been surrounded by mystery and mysticism throughout time. Possibly because of their round shape and their cool, white glow, they are closely associated with the moon. The next time you hold a pearl, examine the soft, iridescent sheen. In fact, some cultures in history thought pearls "grew" only in moonlight.

During the Crusades, pearls were thought to have the power to protect the knights from harm as they went into battle. In other cultures, pearls were a symbol of perfection and completeness. Still, with all other meanings aside, pearls were a symbol of wealth, worn by royalty and the wealthy of most cultures.

For your enjoyment, I have assembled an assortment of portraits of women in pearls. Some are simple, single strands, some are elaborate ropes draped around the neck and the pearls are sewn into the fabric of the dress.

During the Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II adorned in pearls: pearl earrings, pearls on her hat and a pearl necklace
During the Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II adorned in pearls: pearl earrings, pearls on her hat and a pearl necklace | Source
Portrait of a young girl in pearls.
Portrait of a young girl in pearls. | Source
Maria Fyodorovna by artist Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837-1887)
Maria Fyodorovna by artist Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837-1887) | Source
Chinese Empress - Song Dynasty
Chinese Empress - Song Dynasty | Source

More Contemporary Girls and Their Pearls


Make Your Own History in Pearls

A small collection of portraits featuring pearls as the jewelry of choice. The portraits are of different periods of time, but still each picture evokes a different perception of the wearer. Pearls are timeless. Create your own "portrait in pearls." When deciding to take your own headshot, consider adding pearls to your chosen outfit, whether is business, formal or even an informal, casual look that you are trying to achieve, pearls will always add to the picture.

Tips for Great Headshots or Portraits

  1. Chose a photographer whose work you like and who you think will create the best shot.
  2. Practice the pose you think will capture the "best you."
  3. Chose a few outfits that reflect the purpose of you sitting.
  4. When at the shoot, relax. Tension will show in the final shots.
  5. Be open to suggestions of poses and background from your photographer.
  6. Wear makeup appropriate for the shoot. Enlist the services of a makeup artist to get the most from the shoot.
  7. Wear your pearls!

© 2011 Cynthia B Turner


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