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Pearls – One, Two, Three even Five Rows

Pearls – One, Two, Three even Five Rows

I have always loved to wear pearls.  Are they  favourite of yours, dear Reader?

“Pearls are always appropriate”

Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy was right, pearls go with everything and bring a timeless elegance to special outfits for special occasions and lift more ordinary clothes. There are many ways to wear them – how do you like to wear them?

It started for me when I was 19 years old  when I had my ears pierced.  The whole point was to wear pearl studs.  The process was very different to the piercing method now – I felt brave when my mother took me to a local jeweller to have them done. After the tiny gold sleeper stage, that was it , pearl studs all the time , with everything.

At 21 when I “came of age” I was given a single row of graduated Rosita Pearls that I still have and wear.  So from the end of the 70’s I wore my pearl studs and pearls with a lot of outfits, some more elegant than others.  As you know I love the old films of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and noticed so many film stars wearing pearls – 2 or 3 rows particularly.



Pearls are classic and reflect a glow onto the skin that is flattering.  Her majesty, The Queen is hardly ever seen attending daytime events without her beautiful diamond and pearl earrings and 3 rows of priceless pearls.  The necklace that is seen so often is a 3 strand graduated necklace that was made out of family pearls shortly after she came to the throne in 1952. That necklace is fastened with a small diamond clasp.  The earings are Queen Mary’s Button earings, inherited from her Grandmother.  They are her trademark.

For a very large part of my life I wore my pearl studs, the Rosita pearls and the gold bracelet that was a21st Birthday present from my parents.  That jewellery saw me through good and bad times, and helped me to feel more confident when I needed to be.  I am very lucky because I there has been a second chance to be happy as I am now in a second marriage with a wonderful, caring man and a large blended family.  I sold my engagement ring and wedding ring from my first marriage, added extra money and bought a single row of real, graduated pearls.  Why?  There were two reasons.  Firstly , I wanted them.  Secondly, I had seen many times “The Glenn Miller Story”!

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One of my favourite films of all time.

My Mother told me that James Stewart was more handsome that the real Glenn Miller, but the music and the story!  I just loved it all!  My favourite song is “String of Pearls”, a 1941 song composed by Jerry Grey, with lyrics by Eddie Delange.

In the film Glenn has a long distance relationship with Helen.  He pops in and out of her life putting his trombone in and out of hock.  He gets a good price on a single row of pearls for his girl. When he gets to see her , very late after a gig, he tells her “They are for your birthday!”.  “It’s not my Birthday until November.” says Helen.  “They are for your next birthday. “he replies.  Later when they are married, have found “The Sound” and are doing very well, he surprises her at a dance where his orchestra are playing. He bounds off the podium and presents Helen with a single strand of pearls, “These are for your birthday, they’re just real” he  says.  Returning to the podium , as the number ends he announces that it is called String of Pearls.  I love those moments so much, it is one of my favourite Glenn Miller Tracks.

just real

Single row of creamy pearls with gold clasp

Wearing my “just real” string of pearls brought great pleasure and a classic look well into my life as is it is now.  Those pearls have seen me through a lot of happy occasions and represent surviving a long tough journey.

My collecting really started with buying my first powder compact at a vintage and Arts fair in Stratford on Avon.  That Collection sparked an interest in vintage handbags and making my style more 1950’s – wearing fitted jackets, pencil skirts, heels of course and a nod to Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look silhouette.  So, to get a more vintage look my single row was all right , but really more rows were needed.

My husband always comes with me to Vintage Fairs because he is a savvy negotiator and will always tell me if he thinks something is not good!  About 5 years ago, following my discovering the brown corde handbag we started to go to the NEC to Antiques for Everyone.  I was buying powder compacts for my collection, but once there I could see amazing costume jewellery, handbags, vintage clothes and more.  It all felt new and thrilling, this hunting out treasures.

After asking a number of exhibitors if they had 3 rows of graduated pearls I was directed to Diane Ashman, of Ashman’s Antiques and Old Lace.  She had some amazing pearls, which I bought!

DA pearls

My first 3 rows of pearls

I also got a great deal on some ruched 1950’s nylon gloves in black and brown!.  The excitement at being able to wear these accessories, to feel a connection to the decade I was born into was both wonderful and freeing.  I had my three rows of pearls.

With collecting it seems it is easy to expand an interest into other related things, would you agree?  There is also the sense of living history that I have read about in other vintage blogs that expresses this very well.  It is a feeling of joy.  I love the fact that there is never anyone, anywhere who look like me.  I am unique and memorable!

To collecting powder compacts, I added 1950’s costume jewellery and vintage accessories.  I have found more three rows of pearls in different lengths and with different gaps between the rows. they can be worn with all kinds of outfits and necklines   I just adore trying on different skirts, tops, and jackets and then getting the jewellery right.  I call it doing my “styling”.


My Pearl Necklaces

With experience and practice comes the understanding of what you really like and want.  I do not know if you have found this , but collecting goes in stages.  At first it is just collecting anything you can find.  Then comes preferences for certain styles and makers.  I love all my unmarked jewellery, but now favour Trifari, Monet, Napier, Christian Dior and Sarah Coventry.  For pearls I look for Lotus Rosita and Ciro in their original box if possible.

Lotus 2 rows

2 Rows of Lotus Pearls in their original box

I always take a magnifying glass out with me so I am prepared for hunting out treasures!  I have found some amazing things.  You develop an eye for what you like and get better and better over time.  There is a lot to help with knowledge on the Internet and aquiring reference books really helps too.

I have 5 rows of pearls often worn in films by actresses like Joan Crawford, but I have to admit I have not worn them yet.  I know they are they in the collection waiting for me.  I am too busy wearing 2 and 3 rows at every opportunity.

5 rows

5 Rows

Have you had any amazing finds?  I would love to hear your stories.

Thank you for visiting Gloriously Vintage today.



About Gloriously Vintage

My name is Elizabeth. I am so thrilled to be learning how to write a blog about my adventures collecting vintage treasures. This new adventure is to mark my 60th Birthday this February in 2016 and to start this decade with something new. I have been collecting Powder compacts, 1950's costume jewellery, vintage handbags, silk scarves, vintage umbrellas and hats for over five years now. I try to wear and use as much of my collections as possible. This has added great enjoyment to my life! As a child my "best game " was always dressing up. I kept all my dressing up clothes in a large wooden banded trunk in the spare bedroom -the third bedroom. Creating outfits and characters, wearing jewellery always with a handbag and a powder compact I would play on my own for hours. Most of my treasures then came from jumble sales and bric a brac shops browsed with my parents on holiday. Life has a way of coming round full circle. In my fifties I found increasing joy in being able to just be myself and adopt the hairstyle I wanted and the vintage look that suited me. I source all my "top clothes" from Oxfam on line and charity shops Mixing new tops, shoes and sometimes handbags with my vintage accessories has given me a signature style that is unique. I have always tried to be an individual and not follow the crowd. I find most of my collections at vintage fairs, charity shops and going to Antiques for Everyone at the NEC has been a marvellous time for hunting out treasures and learning more about the things that have sparked real passion for me.

11 responses »

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  4. Queen Elizabeth is one of my style icons


  5. Thanks for your informative chat! I love pearls too and wear them often with just about anything! I have several sets of vintage pearls. I found a lovely double with a rhinestone clasp for $2 recently. They are weighted so nicely and hang beautifully. Your five strand set is wonderful. I don’t see those often. Good luck on your blog venture!


    • How lovely to find 2 rows that suit you so well. The more sets you have the more you can mix and match. Also you are not wearing one set too much. Thank you for your comment, it is great to be sharing and learing how to be a blogger! Best wishes, Elizabeth xx


  6. Elizabeth, You have inspired me to wear my single row of pearls again,which I purchased in my twenties. Thank you


  7. Pearls are a huge favourite of mine as well. I tend to gravitate towards single strands and pearl (stud, usually) earrings, as well as pearl bracelets, which I often wear in multiples. There’s nothing so classic and instantly elegant as this gift from the sea and I know that they’ll be an integral part of my wardrobe until the very end.

    ♥ Jessica



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