Picture Perfect Parure

On picture day in second grade, I snuck in some of my favorite jewelry to wear for my school portrait. I was immortalized wearing a necklace, a brooch, and a pair of earrings that I certainly didn’t leave the house wearing that morning. It was pretty surprising for my family to receive the packet of photos documenting me in all my bejeweled glory.

Even at eight years old, I had a desire to be photographed in my favorite jewelry. I thought the jewelry was beautiful, and therefore I would be beautiful. Despite the fact that none of the jewelry matched, it was a parure that made me feel so special, I don’t think I ever took a school portrait that was a memorable since then.

I like to look at pictures of other women wearing their jewelry. I hunt through books at the library, and scan the internet for images of women displaying their collection of jewels. For a while now, I’ve been collecting portraits of ladies decked out in full regalia, wearing a menagerie of diamonds, pearls, and other precious bobbles. There is something about the way that these women look, the expressions on their face, that reflects how the jewelry makes them feel on the inside. As if the weight of the adornment actually lightens their mood and their raises their spirits. Like a child playing dress-up.

Here is a sampling of some particularly nice images below. I concentrated on women wearing pearls for this selection. Unfortunately, I don’t have names for all of the ladies.

Above: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna

above: Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna

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