PEARLS AS USED IN ORNAMENTS AND DECORATION
And the necklace, An India in itself, yet dazzling not.
Byron, Marino Faliero.
HE brilliant diamond
and the love of its possession has captivated many to such a degree
that it has often been the cause of intrigue and bloodshed; and
national history has been influenced by its acquisition or retention.
The pearl, however, though the most quiet of gems, has, in its own way,
found favor in the sight of emperors and empresses, kings and queens,
generals, nobles, and priests ; and even savages have admired its
quiet, stately dignity.
following pages are devoted to a description of the various ornamental
uses of the pearl in different times and countries. Naturally, many of
the famous pearls in the following chapter, if considered purely as
ornaments, might have found a place here.
Egyptians of olden times do not appear to have used fine pearls,
although they probably knew of them on account of the proximity of the
Red Sea. M. J. de Morgan, the explorer, says : "In the tombs of Dashour
I have never seen any ; the only ones that I know of in Egyptian
jewelry belong to the Ptolemaic period and are mounted in Greek style."1
statement is confirmed by Dr. William F. Pétrie, the well-known
Egyptologist, who writes under date of July 26, 1907: "The pearl was
often used in Roman jewelry in Egypt, but I do not know of any instance
of it in pure Egyptian work. The Romans pierced it and hung it by gold
wire on earrings. They also made glass, pearl-like beads, called luli by the modern natives. These beads are made by silvering glass beads and then flashing over them another coat of glass."
Among specimens of the late Egyptian work we may note here some objects in the Louvre :
A pleasing decoration on gold wire is a necklace in the collection of
1 "Délégation en Perse," Paris, 1905, Vol. VIII, p. 52. 403