Always amazed when reading about the war years - rationing - imagine only being allowed one egg a week - having to register with a local shop to be able to use your ration book. Clothes were rationed and you were allowed one bar of soap a month. Children did not know what a banana was until after the war ended. And in spite of all this, we still wanted to dress up and decorate ourselves - 'beauty is essential to human life' - a truism. Bombs are falling all around you but you still get up, get dressed, apply some lipstick and put on a piece of jewellery.
There is so much written about jewellery - books and books about expensive diamond, emeralds and other stones set in precious metals. It appears that there is a concentration on jewellery owned by the 'better off' and the 'wealthy' but what about the vast bulk of the people - the need to feel and look good is not confined to the upper echelons of society. I read that during the war years more than a million pearl necklaces were shipped to the USA but could not find any reference to quantities shipped to the United Kingdom.
Picture Daily Telegraph - great article - goo.gl/sQq1eW
These two invoices dated 1940 and 1941 show the quantity of faux pearls that were shipped to one company in the UK. The notes on the invoices state that 'no silk in the way of ribbon or thread is contained in the shipment' - silk was used for map making for the British Military Intelligence Unit known as MI 9 Source http://www.escape-maps.com/
Women were asked to forego wearing silk during the war so it could be used for parachutes. Source http://goo.gl/Ke846
'Because things were still being rationed after the war I used parachute silk for the under skirt of my wedding dress.' Source http://goo.gl/0tNhD
These are the pearls that were in the boxes with the invoices....
Many vintage pearls available have a lot of wear and tear - these pearls are still on cotton thread and are in perfect condition. I string the pearls, to order, on silk and finish with a sterling silver lobster claw.
My 90(now 95) year old mum has a three strand man made pearl necklace that my father gave her for her birthday in 1942 - the pearls were badly worn. I used the original clasp and replaced the pearls - it is great to see how happy this made mum.
For more information about my vintage pearls please see the website http://www.vintagepearls.co.uk
all pearls are limited in number and cannot be repeated the nature of true vintage stock - the Heart range started at 210 in total
To contact me or buy direct, please email me: Helena firstname.lastname@example.org