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Imperial Russian mass pearl consumption...

86Corvettegirl

Active member
WOW!! Those are some serious headdresses! And the pearls are never ending!!! Opulent, opulent, opulent! Thank you for sharing.
 

Charlotta

New member
They really went all out with their dresses and headpieces. Doesn't look all that comfortable, probably not for me....
 

BWeaves

Active member
I know the gems were all the real deal, so I'll assume those are all real, natural pearls, too.
 

Ash

New member
I'm coming late to this conversation. My guess is natural fresh water pearls were used. Before "over fishing" lakes, rivers and streams were awash with mollusc's that produced pearls across Russia and Europe.
 

CortezPearls

PG Forum Admin
Oh Lord! The photos are amazing, the colorization just makes it look so dazzling and flamboyant. Loved the articles, I'm in love with the photos.
I have to say... Czarina Alexandra does not seem happy (it was explained why, of course) but Yusaida is radiant! Sucha beautiful woman and she had extraordinary taste for pearls (and a matching budget of course!).
Massrog: Thank you soooo much for sharing this with us all :D
 

CortezPearls

PG Forum Admin
I'm coming late to this conversation. My guess is natural fresh water pearls were used. Before "over fishing" lakes, rivers and streams were awash with mollusc's that produced pearls across Russia and Europe.

Yes, mostly Russian freshwater pearls I believe, but they also had many large pearls from Mexico. At the times, Russian whalers would go down to hunt gray whales in Baja, and they traded pearls with the locals. Also, Yusaida was one of the owners of the fabled "La Pelegrina" and "La Regente" pearls...from Mexico (both from the Panamic Black Lip pearl oyster, Pinctada mazatlanica.

This is from Wikipedia:
As the head of one of the most important noble families in Russia, she also inherited a vast fortune, which meant owning the largest collection of historical jewels in Russia, second only to that of the vaults of the Russian Imperial Family. She was in possession of 21 Tiaras, 255 Brooches, 42 Bracelets, 210 kilos of assorted Objet d'art and hundreds of thousands of loose gems. Some of the famous gems were: The mid-16th century La Pelegrina pearl, "The Polar Star Diamond" (41.28 carat diamond), The "La Regente Pearl" (fifth largest pearl in the world), The 17th century "Ram’s Head Diamond" (a 17.47-carat diamond), The 17th century "Sultan of Morocco Diamond" (35.67 carats, fourth largest Blue diamond in the world), The 17th century "Diamond Earrings of Marie Antoinette" (two 34.59 carat diamonds), The "Blue Venus Statuette Sapphire" (4-inch-tall sapphire statuette of the goddess Venus atop a large Spinel) and also The 15th century "Ruby Buddha" (70+ carat Ruby statue).
 

lisa c

Perpetual Pearl Student
Marvelous, thank you massrog, how wonderful to see these costumes. And what meticulous coloring!
 

Lilpearl

New member
That’s just magnificent, but I wonder if they could even dance with so much jewels and furs! How interesting the preferred language used was French and not Russian!
 

CortezPearls

PG Forum Admin
That’s just magnificent, but I wonder if they could even dance with so much jewels and furs! How interesting the preferred language used was French and not Russian!

There was a time when French was the language of the Educated (in Ancient times the same was true for Greek)...even in Britain. Until the time of Chaucer, French was seen as the language of the wealthy and educated. This from Wikipedia:
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, he is best known for The Canterbury Tales. He has been called the "father of English literature", or, alternatively, the "father of English poetry". He was the first writer to be buried in what has since come to be called Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey.
Among Chaucer's many other works are The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, and Troilus and Criseyde. He is seen as crucial in legitimizing the literary use of Middle English when the dominant literary languages in England were still French and Latin.

I guess they did little dancing...I guess the idea was to show off their wealth and power. But regardless...what an amazingly flamboyant display! Loved it!
 

Ash

New member
Hi Douglas,

Thanks for the Chime in about Pearls from Mexico being used as well. That I didn't know. Agreed these photos are fantastic!
 

pearlescence

purveyor of pearls
I look at the portraits and effigies of Queen Elizabeth I and wonder how on earth she even stayed standing. She was under 5ft and with all the layers of clothes and those heavy pearls, it's a wonder she didn't tipple over. she could speak or read English, Welsh, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, and Italian.
 

lisa c

Perpetual Pearl Student
Be. Still. My. Heart. 21 tiaras? Swoon. I see those Russian costumes and think “Yeah, my kids and their spouses could carry that off!” I told my son that, and he just sighed and wrote “Yes, Mother” with an eye roll. He Says they prefer easy care fabrics, as they do their own laundry. Lol.

Elizabeth1 was supposed to be a good rider as well as being short, so she’d be up to the challenges physically of the heavy costuming. I wonder how long she maintained good conditioning? It seems she rode and danced forever, but what about the rest, tennis, fencing and such?

I’m so nosy, I just read that back in the Victorian day a lot of Royal coffins were opened and the bodies inspected. I wonder if Elizabet1 was inspected? If she’d developed any debilitating arthritis?

I have no shame, I want more and more pearls. I don’t begrudge anyone any wealth or gems, what have you, just imagine the wonderful patronage of artists...just need to have a care for the little people, pay your bills, and not go on oppressive religious/mercantile murderous sprees, and all could be well, all could be well...
 
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CortezPearls

PG Forum Admin
Reviving this thread, a bit...with the help of "old candy" :pat:

Our local newspaper had a note on an over 100-year-old chocolate covered Bombon candy found within the wrist folds of one of these lavish dresses...here is a photo of the offending piece:
17_bombom_crop1639762873797.jpg_1935743484.jpg

So, this is the story (translated for your convenience):

Employees of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg recently made an unusual discovery by restoring a luxurious ball dress by Grand Duchess Ksenia Alexandrovna, sister of Russia's last emperor, Nicholas II.
On a sleeve of the garment, a bonbon of at least 118 years old was found, which was apparently bitten by the aristocrat during a dance, which was held in February 1903 at the Winter Palace and whose visitors wore costumes jeweled in the style of the seventeenth century.
Nina Tarasova, curator of the costume collection of the Department of History of Russian Culture, noted that possibly, during the gala, the duchess did not find any place to leave the sweet she had tasted and kept it up her sleeve.

And here is the photo of the sweet-toothed & pearl studded Duchess.
17_vestido.jpg_1095731092.jpg
 

lisa c

Perpetual Pearl Student
Thank you Douglas! for the thread bump.
Do you think the bonbon is for real? I’ve fallen asleep with jr mints just rolled up near me by accident, and what a horrendous, melted mess! Never eat dark chocolate in bed.
 

CortezPearls

PG Forum Admin
I think the photo of the bonbon that was included is not real. They actually analyzed the candy and it was devoid of noxious bacteria or fungi -one of the curators said she actually bit into it!- and it was still edible after over 100 years!
 
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