My stepmother once befriended Natasha, a funny fascinating lady in her 90s who lived near my grandmother. The woman used to be a nightclub singer: in her day she was called a chanteuse. She had the stories that went with the whole romantic notion. Even at 94 she looked the part. In her nightclub appearances she always wore pearls with her fancy gowns. I saw the old photos of her with men who looked like rich patrons and some that reminded me of Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire.
In 1992 she died and donated her estate to charity. Catherine, my stepmother bought the pearls for me. It was the perfect gift and the thing I LOVED the most was the history the pearls carried. In fact the story was in much better shape than the pearls, which were badly stained and needed restringing.
I took them to a jeweler for refurbishing who marveled at the layers of soil he deemed to be makeup, perfume and nicotine. Fabulous! The story was confirmed by real evidence. I like to imagine they were a gift from one of her smitten patrons.
Pearls with stories are the best kind. If yours are new, start infusing them with your stories right away. If they are white or natural colored pearls they will darken slightly with age and wear. This is not dirt that can be rinsed away; it’s the patina that comes with the stories.
For Your Pearl PLEASURE: How To Take Care of Your Pearls