To the ancient Greeks, they were tears of the gods.
My grandmother’s akoya pearls are the most precious piece of jewelry I own, beside my wedding ring. Apart from their sentimental value, they have a gorgeous lustre and have aged quite well.
Pearls appear front and center in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Belcolore:
And in Fanny Cornforth’s hair in Rossetti’s Bocca Baciata:
Of course, I’ve written about Rossetti’s spiral hair pin in the blog post Hair Adornment in Rossetti paintings. Kirsty Walker once made biscuits based on the pearl hair pin. And Grace Nuth blogged about it at The Beautiful Necessity.
In Waterhouse’s 1894 Ophelia, pearls appear on both the cuffs and hem of her dress, along with other jewels:
Waterhouse also shows pearls in beautiful blend of water and folkore:
Hylas and the Nymphs
In Waterhouse’s La Belle Dame sans Merci, we see three pearls in her hair and along the hem of her dress:
Woven in the hair of the Waterhouse classic, The Soul of the Rose:
Worn by a young Ellen Terry in G.F.Watts’ Choosing:
Viola by Emma Sandys:
Elaine by Emma Sandys:
Pearl buttons on Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale’s The Little Foot Page:
Evelyn De Morgan’s Medea wears them in her hair: