Small seed pearls imported from China and India and strung on horsehair or silk into earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and hair ornaments achieved great popularity in federal America. Their smooth white texture and color melded with the neoclassical aesthetic that harkened back to ancient Greece and Rome. During the presidency, Martha Washington purchased readily available seed pearl jewelry that was imported or made by Philadelphia and New York jewelers. She may have worn this simple strand of pearls alone or perhaps paired it with a set of intricately worked pearl earrings. More


c. 1789-1797



Pearls, silk


Overall: 22 5/8 in. x 5/8 in. x 1/16 in. (57.48 cm x 1.6 cm x 0.15 cm)


Gift of Mrs. Lyttleton B. P. Gould, Jr., M. Chapin Krech, Dr. Shepard Krech, Alvin W. Krech, Peter Chapin, Charles Chapin, and Mrs. Charles Merrill Chapin III, in memory of Esther Maria Lewis Chapin, 1986

Object Number



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