The “Pearls” exhibition organised by Qatar Museums started yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture.

The exhibition, being held at the Museu de Arte Brasileira (Brazilian Museum of Art), runs until September 28

On display are over 200 pieces of jewellery and works of art showcasing the extraordinary variety of colour and shape of natural and cultured pearls.

The exhibition will examine how pearls have been employed over centuries in both the East and the West as a symbol of status and wealth, how tastes vary in different cultures as well as the changing designs of
jewellery with pearls.

Safiya Saif al-Hajari, director of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums, said: “The idea behind organising the ‘Pearls’ exhibition is to pay tribute to our ancestors who made many sacrifices and depended on the pearls trade to sustain their livelihood.

“Through organising this exhibition, Qatar Museums aims to enhance awareness among the Brazilian community about the significance of pearls in Qatari history. We look forward to this exciting exhibition, which highlights a common historical aspect for both Qatari and
Brazilian people.”

The exhibition supported by Qatar Petroleum International and Shell as platinum sponsors will be a highlight for the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture, which aims to forge new partnerships in education, sports, creative industries and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each other’s culture, achievements and heritage.

The exhibition begins with an insight into the natural history of pearls and the pearl fishing trade from across the Arabian Gulf to Europe and Asia, since Antiquity.

A collection of rare pearls and pearl-bearing mollusks will demonstrate how Gulf pearls have long been some of the most desirable and valuable in the world. It will also reveal the often dangerous working methods of pearl divers and show the trading practices of pearl merchants in the Gulf, together with examples of equipment required for weighing and valuing pearls.

The second part of the exhibition will explore the representation of pearls in jewellery and highlight how the design changed through history, keeping the exhibition up to date with contemporary work by designers practising today.

The exhibition will also follow the invention of the cultured pearl and its production on an industrial scale initiated by Kokichi Mikimoto in Japan. He succeeded in developing the necessary technology to establish ways of making pearls affordable for every woman to wear.

The jewellery and works of art will be drawn from the Qatar Museums collections alongside objects from Mikimoto & Co, Yoko London and Alfardan, Qatar.






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