Thumbelina pearls: small and beautiful “seed” pearls

Organic

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain."

Parure with turquoise and pearls, around 1830

Use of pearls in Victorian jewelry

Seed pearls are unlike any other type of pearl; The most noticeable difference is the miniature size of the pearls. Their size means they are often used as decoration on brooches and pendants. They were especially popular in Victorian jewelry, as were pearls in general.

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -3

Pearl seeds also became a fashionable wedding gift, as pearls were associated with purity, chastity and delicacy.

Antique pearl parure, mid-19th century

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -4-2

Antique pearl parure, mid-19th century

Pearls proved popular when heavy lace and intricate details came into fashion. This style complemented the pearl look perfectly. Sewn tightly together, these tiny pearls were the perfect accessory for bright and heavy dresses. Pearl jewelry became so large and extravagant that sometimes metal supports were added to the back of the jewelry.

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -5

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -5-2

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -5-3

Creating jewelry with pearl seeds required a high level of skill to avoid crushing or breaking the delicate pearls. In addition, these tiny pearls were sewn onto horsehair or silk; this made the job of creating pearl seed jewelry incredibly difficult.

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -6

Pearl grains also provide the perfect accent to larger gemstones. This is demonstrated by many Victorian decorations

Pendants with small pearls of the 18th-19th centuries:

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -7

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -7-2

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -7-3

Pearl grains are so delicate that they can be used as decoration and accents in antique jewelry, as well as as a supporting stone.

Choker with Art Nouveau opal, pearls and diamonds, circa 1900

In Russian jewelry art

According to some information, in Russia there were a huge amount of pearls and, it seems, our ancestors were engaged in breeding (rather, preserving the places where pearl shells lived), until certain events occurred...

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Faberge egg decorated with seed pearls

We used small pearls to embroider clothes completely, or details of clothes: belts, cuffs or edges of clothes were decorated with the following embroidery:

Modern reconstruction
Russian embroidery of the XNUMXth - early XNUMXth centuries. From the collection of the State Hermitage

Modern pearls, similar to the pearl seeds of the past, also appear on farms where they are cultivated, but real, natural pearls are a thing of the past...

A pearl seed is generally defined as a small natural pearl measuring less than 2mm in diameter. Although their early definition stated that they should "weigh less than a quarter of a grain." -12

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