Latendresse’s pearl collection on display

John Latendresse’s top pearl collection items will be on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York from October 12 thru April 14, 2002. It then will be on display at the Chicago Field Museum from June 28, 2002 thru January 5, 2003.

The Latendresse family will attend the New York opening on October 13th.

If you’ve never glimpsed the pearly product of an orange horse conch or even a freshwater pearl from homegrown mussels in the United States, the newest exhibition to head to Manhattan’s museum scene promises to provide plenty of opaque opportunities.

“Pearls,” is said to be the most comprehensive exhibit ever dedicated to the iridescent specimens. The natural history of pearls and their prolific mussel parents will be explored and intertwined with science, art, literature, history, and jewelry. Several varieties will share the exhibit limelight, including conventional black and white pearls from marine Pinctada oysters from Japan and Polynesia; freshwater pearls from the U.S. and China mussels; collection of peculiar pearls from such species as the orange horse conch and the giant clam; and obscure fossil pearls that are more than 70 million years old. The pearls will also make their grand debut in one of the exhibit’s highlights, a section on the decorative use of pearls, featuring jewelry, fashions, and other glamorous objects.

Over the centuries and around the world, pearls have captured the imagination of kings, poets, and scientists. It is this historical association of pearls with purity, refinement, glamour, and wealth that persists in our thinking of pearls as the Queen of Gems.

For more information, contact the American Museum of Natural History at 212-769-5100.