A very special collection of world-class pearls from the Gulf State of Qatar is making its Americas debut in São Paulo, Brazil. Featuring more than 120 stunning pearl items and works of art, the exhibition will demonstrate Qatar’s 7,000-year legacy as the heart of the natural pearl trade.
Visitors will learn how Gulf pearls have long been some of the most desirable and valuable in the world. It also reveals an historic look at the often-dangerous working methods of pearl divers and shows the trading practices of pearl merchants in the Gulf. Also on display is the equipment once used for weighing and evaluating pearls.
Here’s an example of a pearl chest once used in the Arabian Gulf region.
The exhibition includes natural pearl jewelry made between 200 AD and 1930 AD, as well as 10 royal tiaras from European monarchies, tribal jewelry and natural pearl earrings once owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
One standout piece is the $2 million Rosebery tiara, owned in the late 19th century by the richest women in Britain, Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery.
“Pearls” is billed as an unparalleled scientific, historical, and cultural journey into Qatar’s role in bringing the world this natural gem. It examines how people in the Gulf region lived long before the discovery of oil and natural gas — when pearl diving was the only way to sustain the local economy.
Divers demonstrate traditional methods of harvesting pearls in the Arabian Gulf.
The exhibit covers the achievements of Kokichi Mikimoto in developing cultured pearls and how he was able to deliver an affordable pearl product to the masses.
Brazil is the third stop on the “Pearls” tour. The first was in Japan in 2012 and the second was in the UK in 2013.Photos: Qatar Museums