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Small seed pearls, imported from China and India and strung on horsehair or silk to be fashioned into earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and hair ornaments, were widely popular in federal America. Their smooth texture and white color melded with the Neoclassical aesthetic that referenced ancient Greece and Rome. This pair of seed pearl earrings may have been among the "pearl pins and earrings for Mrs. Washington" purchased from New York jeweler Mr. M. Roberts on December 5, 1789.


Pair of seed pearl earrings and pendants, each consisting of a small circular earring and a larger circular pendant composed of pearls mounted on mother-of-pearl disk; the smaller circular earring is composed of seed pearls arranged in concentric circles with a large pearl mounted at the center and eight rosettes of large pearls encircled by seed pearls placed around the perimeter; the larger pendant is composed of three tiers of rosettes, each with a large pearl encircled by seed pearls, placed in concentric circles with the largest pearl at the center; a silver French hook is mounted on the back of each earring; a small silver loop secures the larger pendant to the base of the hook mount on the earring.


c. 1789



Pearl, mother of pearl, silver


Overall (B): 1 3/8 in. x 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. (3.51 cm x 1.91 cm x 1.27 cm)
Overall (C): 1 3/8 in. x 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. (3.51 cm x 1.91 cm x 1.27 cm)

Credit Line

Given in memory of Lucy Ware Lewis McCormick, 1946

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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