On Saturday 21 September 2013, London's V&A Museum opened the doors to its much-anticipated new exhibition: Pearls. Ahead of the big reveal, Maria Doulton visited the Kensington museum for a preview of the exhibition's stand-out pieces and to speak to its curators, Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and Hubert Bari.

In collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority, the exhibition, which runs until 19 January 2014, delves into the long and distinguished history of the pearl, showcasing a variety of gems, from ancient specimens to modern-day jewels. A number of exceptional pearl ceations are included in the exhibition, including Hemmerle's spectacular Trantula brooch, which features a 111.76ct dark brown conch pearl, a pearl necklace owned by Marilyn Monroe, the single pearl earring worn by Charles I on his execution and a spectacular Cartier necklace made up of five graduated strands of natural Gulf pearls.


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