PEARLS – ROYAL SPLENDOUR, MODERN DESIGN
The subtle power of pearls exerts an almost magical attraction on the female gender. As seductive gems, pearls have been associated with both the divine and the corporeal. Their natural beauty is timeless and universal, and perhaps this is why pearls have been celebrated as metaphors for virtue and love, wisdom and justice. The spiritual aura and astronomical prices of pearls have made them ideal objects of communication, and for millennia only the most wealthy and powerful possessed pearls.
During the 20th century, the perfect appearance of cultured pearls has somewhat outmanoeuvred natural pearls. Today, most people are actually thinking of cultured pearls when they envision pearls. Natural pearls are usually only appreciated by a connoisseur clientele, which hold these treasures of the sea in high esteem due to their rarity. But even after the distribution and recognition of cultured pearls throughout the world, royalty is still staged with pearls in formal state portraiture, as it has continuously been tradition for centuries in many European royal houses.
In 2011, goldsmith Bodil Binner had the pleasure of co-arranging and co-curating an exhibition entitled ”Pearls – Royal splendour, modern design”, shown at Rosenborg Castle in Denmark with jewellery writer Nina Hald. On display for three and a half months in the beginning of 2012, generous loans of royal pearl objects, jewellery, historic oil paintings and other creations provided an impression of the pearls in royal Danish possession over the last 400 years, while works by present-day goldsmiths and jewellery designers illustrated contemporary pearl trends of today.
While Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe 2. of Denmark, showed the exhibition great magnanimity by lending the exhibition Her Majesty’s favourite pearl jewellery suite composed of a large necklace, earrings and tiara from The Royal Entailed Personal Property (a special legacy of which only the reigning queen has access and right of disposal), contemporary designers and goldsmiths rose to the challenge of creating jewellery, hollowware, objets d’art and other creations for the exhibition.
Bodil Binner’s necklace ”Mademoiselle Vénus” made of pearl-beige mink, a total of 8.24 carats of champagne-coloured brilliants, 15 round and 3 drop-shaped Fiji cultured pearls (9-14.75 mm), 18 karat fairmined gold from the Oro Verde mine and suede
Bodil Binner’s whip ”Mademoiselle Sade” set with 61 Tahiti cultured pearls (11-15.5 mm), handle of rhodinated silver set with a total of 19.24 carats of baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds, and 60 cm long blond human hair