15 July 2010

Pearls, Glorious Pearls

In Deception, Levi purchases a pendant for Aurora; later she wonders over his ability to afford it. Although simple, the pendant includes six pearls. With all the rumors stating he'd gambled away his wealth, it makes sense for her to wonder. Pearls were natural at that time, harder to find, and therefore far more expensive. (By the way, if you'd like a chance to win the pearl daisy pictured here, click the pendant to find out how.) 

The pearls we often see today are cultured, meaning the oyster is more or less forced to make the gem. With cultured pearl farms all over the world, this beautiful and timeless gem is now easily obtained.

The culturing process officially began in 1893 when the first pearl was "created" by Kokichi Mikimoto. Simply, a pearl is made by placing a tiny bit of shell or other debris inside the oyster. It is then coated in layers of nacre until a pearl is formed. After several months, the pearl is harvested.

It was Mikimoto's desire to see pearls around the throat of every woman, not just the wealthy. In developing the culturing process, he made that wish a distinct possibility. 

There are so many works of art out there featuring pearls. I've included several below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

*For more info on Mikimoto and pearl culturing visit these sites: Cultured Pearls: History of MikimotoMikimoto Kōkichi; Cultured pearl

07 July 2010

~Historical Figures~ Sarah Siddons

While Mrs. Siddons doesn't actually make an appearance in Deception, she is mentioned within the story as the greatest actress to ever tread the boards. 

This statement, for the Regency, is regarded as fact. Mrs. Sarah Siddons did indeed make a name for herself, especially in the role of Lady Macbeth.

By 1812, six years before Deception takes place, Mrs. Siddons had already retired after an illustrious career. Her farewell performance in 1812 was that of her most famous role, Lady Macbeth, which culminated in an emotional speech lasting eight minutes. After that, she still appeared on stage from time to time, making her final appearance in 1819. She died in 1831 at the age of 75.

*First graphic is Mrs. Sarah Siddons, oil on canvas by Thomas Gainsborough, 1785 (linked to its Wikimedia Commons page). Second graphic taken from La Belle Assemblée, February 1812.
**Further reading: La Belle Assemblée, February 1812, p59; Wikipedia


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