Pearls of Wisdom
Staff -- Interior Design, 11/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
In ancient times, some people believed pearls were frozen tears of the gods, while others thought they were born of clams impregnated by dew. Dating back to an estimated 530 million years ago, they have captivated the minds of many with their mystery and beauty for centuries. Weaving the science, history, and art of these gems is Pearls, a comprehensive exhibition displaying over 800 pearl and related objects at the American Museum of Natural History. Pearls is presented in seven sections, on topics that range from the natural formation and culturing of pearls to their historical associations and use in the decorative arts. Among the highlights are impressive gifts exchanged between royalty, such as a pearl-and-semiprecious-gem brooch Prince Albert gave to Queen Victoria, and a Nepalese royal turban crown from the 19th century. Linking them to the present, Pearls also displays significant pop-cultural objects, including a pearl necklace given to Marilyn Monroe by then-husband Joe DiMaggio. Through April 14, 2002. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, (212) 769-5100.