Lots of Pearls, No Kokoshniki

By the end of the year, jewelry lovers will be treated to two period pieces which rely upon sumptuous jewelry for atmosphere and detail.

The first is a remake of “The Great Gatsby” which will feature designs by Tiffany. If you’re interested in this exciting period in jewelry history, take a look at this article which explores the period in some detail.

The second is the upcoming remake of Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s exploration of a tragic love affair between members of Russia aristocracy in the mid-nineteenth century. The movie is due to be released in November, 2012.

Faberge tiaraUnlike the Gatsby re-make which as far as I can tell attempted to be true to period costumes and jewelry design, the brief for costume designer Jacqueline Durran was to mix 1950s couture with traditional styles from the 1870s, the time period in which the movie is set. Not explained in the press releases I’ve read is why the film makers selected the 1950s from which to draw inspiration.

This creative license is also interesting because the mid-to-late nineteenth century was a period of great creativity and innovation in Russian jewelry. Carl Faberge, the best example of Russian innovation during this period, was creating tiaras which incorporated “negative” space for light, airy tiaras such as one above.

PearlsBut this is nitpicking. The photos I’ve seen depict really gorgeous jewelry and are from Chanel Joaillerie which supplied the jewelry for Gosford Park and Vanity Fair. Opposite is one of the most heavily promoted stills showing Keira Knightly wearing pearls and a pair of twisted gold, diamond and pearl earrings.

It’s worth noting that the Russians had a centuries long love affair with pearls. Both the Russian aristocracy and the gentry owned pearl jewelry and clothing decorated with the gems. Russian noblewomen often wore large headdresses, or kokoshniki, decorated with pearls, lace and colored gemstones.

Here is a photo of a kokoshniki (sometimes spelled without the i, although purists will want to know that the authoritative Pearls in Human History from Pearlsthe American Museum of Natural History spells the name of these elaborate headdresses with an “i.” This, however, may be far more than you want to know.)

In any event, the movie is due out in November and will be a feast for jewelry lovers of all periods.





and  choose

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