Girl with the Pearl Necklace
Liz Taylor... movie star, style icon, glamorous... that's pretty much all I knew about Dame Elizabeth until this week. That isn't me being ignorant, unfortunately I wasn't born early enough to properly appreciate the inspiration that she was.
13th December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s 16th century ruby and diamond mounted pearl necklace sells at auction for £7.6 million. Previously owned by Mary Tudor, and two Spanish queens, the piece was purchased for Dame Elizabeth in 1969 by her twice married, twice divorced husband Richard Burton, for £23,800. The pearl, named ‘La Peregrina’, or ‘The Pilgrim’ in English, is one of the largest perfectly symmetrical pear-shaped pearls in the world, originally weighing a whopping 224g.
The Creation of a Perfect Pearl
Pearls are formed inside the shell of almost any species of mollusc, as a defence mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside its shell, or an attack from outside, injuring the mantle tissue. The mollusc creates a sac to seal off the irritation, sealing it with layers and layers of calcium carbonate, thus forming a pearl. The first artificial pearl is said to have been created in 1656, by a French rosary-bead maker, by coating gypsum pellets with a mixture of fish scales and varnish. Yummy! Pearl jewellery is a personal favourite of mine. It can be dressed up, dressed down, a statement piece in a classic outfit or paired with an evening dress for a touch of elegance.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Among items sold at the auction were Elizabeth's 33.19 carat diamond solitaire for £5.7 million, and an ivory and gold necklace which fetched more than 100 times the predicted price at £203,000. Elizabeth Taylor was known for her obsession with diamonds, us girls here at AC Silver can only dream about having a collection as amazing and elegant as hers, but we can pretend while we're trying on the beautiful pieces that Mr Campbell purchases for the shop!
Maker of the Month: Paul Storr
It is only since working at AC Silver that I am becoming familiar with the many silversmiths among our collection, however one man I keep hearing a lot of good words about, is a gentleman named Paul Storr.
Paul Storr was an English silversmith, sculptor, and designer working during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His work ranged from simple silverware such as tea pots, salt pots and candlesticks, to larger table ornaments such as sculptures and soup tureens. He was also commissioned to create sculptural pieces for royal goldsmiths.
Cheaper by the Dozen
Paul was lucky enough to marry a childhood friend, Elizabeth Beyer, in 1801. He fathered 10 children who proceeded to give him an astonishing 54 grand children! He retired in 1838 to Tooting, London, until his death in March 1844. His pieces have become highly sought after and collectable, and are considered to be great investment pieces. Why not read some more about investing in silver?
Investing in Silver
I've often enquired to Mr Campbell about 'what makes silver a good investment item', and since he has eventually gotten around to putting this information onto our new modernised website (more on this later in the week!), I highly recommend it being worth a read if you are considering investing your money in collectable silver pieces.