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December 12 2014


Celebrity Style: Forget the Bling, Bring Back Old Hollywood Glamour with Pearls

I'll take glamorous stars like Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor over spoiled pseudo-celebs like Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, Nicole Ritchie and their ilk any day of the week, although call me old fashioned. Whereas Old Hollywood oozed mystery, class and sophistication, today's overexposed starlets lack grace--and sometimes even talent! Take how they promote themselves: Today's stars walk the red carpet barely clothed, dripping in outrageous, tacky bling, yammering on regarding their personal lives. Yesterday's icons--Jackie O and Lady Diana also spring to mind--projected a glamorous elegance one would actually attempt to emulate. They dressed with flair, accessorized with style and kept their private lives private. What's more, lots of the Old Hollywood elite wore my favorite gem, the pearl, whose ladylike, demure reputation is so fitting for these elegant women. Luckily for me, and the rest of the world, pearls are generating a large comeback. Let's hope Hollywood revives old-style ladylike behavior along with the ladylike gem. Let's take a look at the pearl jewelry made famous by some of our most beloved female icons, as an homage to Old Hollywood glamour.- black gossip

Elizabeth Taylor

Perhaps the favourite jewelry collector of our time, legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor also owns the most famous pearl, La Peregrina. Presented to her in 1969 at that time-husband Richard Burton (yep, he's the one Liz married twice), La Peregrina, an enormous, pear-shaped white pearl, was discovered with a slave in the early 1500s inside the Gulf of Panama. First given as a wedding gift to Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII, the rare and extraordinary gem was owned by a succession of royalty before being purchased at auction by Burton for Taylor as a Valentine's Day gift. (Why she divorced him I don't know. Why she divorced him twice is much more of a mystery. Any man who provided jewels like that would be a keeper.) After receiving the huge pearl, which had been hanging coming from a thin chain, Taylor instructed famous jewelry designer Cartier to create a ruby and diamond necklace incorporating the gem. The breathtaking result is absolutely stunning. (Search online for any photo; the necklace is truly special.) Trivia: Once lost the famous La Peregrina pearl in her home taylor. A frantic search turned up the enormous white gem...in her dog's mouth! Before it was scratched, thank goodness Taylor found it!

Marilyn Monroe

You wouldn't think luscious Marilyn, emulated by every current day celebrity from Madonna to Lindsay Lohan and Christina Aguilera, would sport a demure single strand of pearls. With her blonde locks, eye-popping cleavage and breathy voice, the Marilyn Monroe we love is a lot more within the top than that--but one particular strand of pearls is precisely what she wore. Marilyn received the luminous saltwater pearl strand from baseball slugger Joe Dimaggio, her second husband. Joltin' Joe presented Marilyn with the gorgeous 16-inch Mikimoto necklace produced from forty-four matched round white Japanese akoyas when they were on the honeymoon. Perhaps Dimaggio, in giving luscious Marilyn the gorgeous pearl strand, was seeking to turn the sexy star into the perfect 1950s housewife? These were known as Mr. and Mrs. America, after all. Alas, their marriage lasted but annually.

Audrey Hepburn

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a classic film not only because it's a wonderful romantic comedy that stars beloved screen legend Audrey Hepburn, but because it showcased the waiflike Ms. Hepburn's effortless and elegant style. The dress she wore within the film, her now-famous simple black sleeveless style, was the perfect backdrop for that six-strand pearl and rhinestone necklace she sported as adorable Holly Golightly. (Inside the film, the beguiling but penniless Golightly would endearingly stare inside the renowned jeweler Tiffany's window, daydreaming of owning the treasures within.) Trivia: Hepburn's necklace within the film is faux, created from marquise-shaped rhinestones (not diamonds! ) that cascade gorgeously through the imitation pearls. Faux or otherwise not, the ornate pearl necklace looks just gorgeous on Hepburn's graceful neck.

Jackie O: Surprisingly, Jackie O's famous and far-photographed triple strand pearl choker can also be simulated. The gorgeous pearl choker she's recognized for featured round white "pearls" on strands of graduated lengths, and typified Jackie's signature crisp, elegant style. The necklace's popularity went through the roof when Jackie was photographed holding her son John-John as he played with her pearls. Trivia: Jackie's triple-strand faux pearl necklace went up for auction in 1996. The simulated pearls, nearly valueless were it not for their connection to Jackie, were anticipated to fetch $500-$700. The Franklin Mint bought the piece for $211,500!

Princess Diana

Another beloved icon of class, style and wealth, Princess Diana's most well-known pearl piece is most likely her dangling pearl and diamond tiara. Dubbed the Cambridge Love Knot, this gorgeous tiara was presented to the princess by her mother-in-law, the Queen of England. Copies of Lady Di's pearl tiara are worn by brides the world over on their special day. But Lady Di wore the Spencer family tiara on the special day, not the Cambridge Love Knot, and paired it with a sapphire and pearl choker she received as being a wedding gift from her husband-to-be, Prince Charles. On the top? Not considering the dress this jewelry was intended to accessorize: Princess Diana's ivory silk gown enjoyed a 25-foot long train and was decorated with 10,000 pearls and sequins. Fit for a princess, indeed.

Other famous pearl admirers

When dishing about celebrity pearl jewelry, no article could be complete without mentioning fashion maven Coco Chanel, the scrappy French designer who made pearls her signature look in the 1920s. Wearing pearl ropes as easily as other women wear jeans, Coco's House of Chanel used pearls in many jewelry pieces, and place out such gorgeous jewelry being a bracelet made from 105 akoya pearls surrounded by diamonds and gold. Recently, the Paris-based fashion house premiered its annual jewel collection, which features one-of-a-kind pearl pieces priced from $29,000 to $450,000.

When conversing about celebrity pearl jewelry, we have to also mention Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress and present day style icon who made layered oversize pearl necklaces chic in their memorable Gap ads from last year. Nor could we neglect Rene Russo. The necklace the model- turned-actress wore through the movie Tin Cup, which featured white pearls evenly spaced on fine chain, received almost as much attention since the Golden Globe-nominated romantic comedy. Rene's Tin Cup necklace, now a jewelry staple, sparked a new trend in modern, sophisticated pearl jewelry. Today, several stunning variations of the simple and elegant Tin Cup necklace may be found in jewelry stores worldwide.

Talking about modern chic, Kiera Knightly rocked pearls on the premier of her movie The Black Pearl by sporting a black baroque pearl choker made with different shades of Tahitian pearls. (Lucky girl not only reaches wear gorgeous jewelry, she also grows to work alongside Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp.) Life isn't fair! And that we can't forget style icon Kate Moss; the fashionable model is also frequently seen in pearl strands.

So, how about it young Hollywood? Why not drop the outrageous bling, daring dresses and outlandish behavior in favor of the ladylike glamour, sophistication and enigma that surrounded the screen legends of history? America is sorely lacking screen icons that we admire, much less wish to emulate. Let's restoreclass and style, and pearls.- black gossip

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