V&A Museum, London
21 September 2013 – 19 January 2014
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
+44 20 7942 2000

A pearl-drop earring worn by Charles I at his execution in 1649, magnificent pearl tiaras
worn by European nobility and a necklace of cultured pearls given to Marilyn Monroe by
Joe DiMaggio in 1954 are among the incredible array of jewels and other objects on
display in this exhibition. Organised in partnership with the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), the exhibition explores the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire to the present, and will be the highlight event of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which aims to forge new partnerships in education, sport, creative industries and science, while promoting an
awareness and appreciation of each other’s culture, achievements and heritage.

On display are over 200 pieces of jewellery and works of art showcasing the
extraordinary variety of colour and shape of natural and cultured pearls. The exhibition
examinse how pearls have been employed over centuries in both East and West as a
symbol of status and wealth, how tastes vary in different cultures as well as the changing
designs of jewellery with pearls.

Pearls has been co-curated by independent jewellery historian and curator Beatriz
Chadour-Sampson and Hubert Bari, Director of the Pearl and Jewellery Museum at