Which pearls are these?


Community member
Dec 27, 2019
I really really love this look on Hedy Lamarr. Could anyone kindly tell me which kind of pearls are these- they look like Japanese akoyas to my untrained eye. What size are they and how long do you think the necklace is? How could go one go about emulating this look?


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A guess only 7mm akoyas would probably work. 4 strands, but not nested, so probably a rope. If a finished strand is about 18 inches long them the rope should be about 72 inches long. jeg has a neat trick to keep multipel strands staying as arranged, she ties a ribbon (or something similar) at the neck, around the strands. There is a phone somewhere. You could probably use some good freshwaters as well.
Because of the era, I am just taking a guess they might be faux. The look can be created any number of ways, it will just take lots of layers. It looks to me like there might be 5-6 layers? If I were doing this for myself, I would use two ropes at 32”-36”. Doubled around would give you 4 strands, Then add one- two short strands or a short double strand to the mix. This way, the individual pieces are still a useful length for other looks.
Weren't fake pearls more of a thing in the 1960s than 40s though? I currently have one freshwater rope and one baroque akoya. The freshwaters are 7.5mm and 52in in length. The akoyas are 8mm and 60in in length. Do you think I should wear them together to try to get this look or will the two different types of pearls look weird together?
There is a very high chance that they are costume pearls.

There was/is a company that supplied the Hollywood industry with prop jewellery known as “Joseff of Hollywood”. They made exquisite jewellery pieces for the film industry in base metal (effectively Brass).

From what I have seen and read they almost had a monopoly on supply, they where the go to place for sourcing Jewellery to suit pretty much any era/style without breaking the movie studios budget. They still exist today and have a website with an interesting store.
Fake pearls have been around for centuries. Princess Alexandra of England wore ropes of fakes along with her real pearls. I have faux pearls from my grandmother from the 1920's and 1930's.

Hedy looks like she's wearing a 100 inch rope of 8 mm fake pearls.
Joseff's of Hollywood provided jewelry for films, and yes, this was most often costume. For still photographs and for promotional advertisements, Hollywood stars usually wore their own pieces.

I just did some more research and came across this article with the following quote: 'Cultured pearls were more affordable than real pearls and worn by movie stars like Lauren Bacall and Hedy Lamarr.' https://www.marlm.com/guide/retro/

From what I know of Hedy Lamarr, she was a highly paid film star who liked the finer things in life. There is no reason to believe she wore fake ones. The quote above implies she wore cultured rather than natural pearls.

I just did a quick Google search on Queen Alexandra's pearls, and with the exception of some random message board site every article I read said she had a very valuable real pearl collection. Until I see it documented in a reliable, unbiased source (such as a biography or university website) I will continue to believe she wore the real deal.
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