Crafty stuff

Ninon’s accessories

I can’t really trim Ninon’s dress because I can’t get the right trim in Wellington, and I feel I shouldn’t make a special trip up to Brian Gaskin’s in Palmy because I have to go up there on business next week.

So instead I’m researching what jewellery and accessories she should wear.

It’s pretty easy actually: every-single-painting shows the sitter wearing a collarbone level necklace of large pearls, and large pear-drop pearl earrings.

Some ladies went for simply the pearl necklace and earrings, and nothing else:

Simple necklace and pearl drop earrings

Most sitters added a few more accessories of her own to go with the ubiquitous necklace and earrings.

This one has bracelets:

Pearl necklace, pearl earrings, pearl bracelets

Brooches at the centre front holding the fichu in place are common, usually with pearl drops:

Pearl necklace, pearl earring, brooch with pearl drop to fasten the fichu drape

And of course, I have Elisabeth d’Orleans as my inspiration for Ninon with her pleated fabric/shell with a bow and jewelled bodice trimming.

Pearl necklace, pearl earrings, pearls over her hairbun

There are other portraits that show the same pearls in the bun at the back of the head

Pearl necklace, pearls wrapped around bun, brooch with pearl drop

And one lady went all out to gain Louis XIV’s favour, wearing trimmings of his favourite colour: flame.

Three-drop earrings, flame-coloured bows in hair and at wrist, three drop brooch, and a very bejewelled bodice.



  1. Zach says

    You’d think diamonds had gone out of style! I think my favorite is the second to last image with the pearled fastenings along the sleeve seams–it combined with the thicker drape two pictures above it would be perfect! Also, is that simply the end pieces of the drape, in the last image, or is it a fan like object like the on on the inspiration image? I can’t wait to see what you choose to do!

    • Well, basically they had never been in style! Diamonds weren’t nearly as valuable as pearls until the 19th century, when the figured out how to cut them well, and then pearls dropped in value in the early 20th century when cultured pearls were discovered. Before that pearls were definitely the most valuable gem around (even though they aren’t really a gem – but you know what I mean).

      • Zach says

        Really? That’s neat! I always wondered why pearls always seemed to be such prominent ornaments in paintings of the old royals–I always figured it was just because of the size, since they aren’t too pricey anymore (If you’re looking at the cultured pearls, of course). I thought they were somewhat popular in the 18th century as well, at least with Marie Antoinette and her giant diamond drops and the necklace for Du Barry–or am wrong there?

    • Elise says

      I thought that, too! Actually, when I saw the pictures of her in the dress, I thought how perfect she was to model that time period! Our Dreamstress seems like she has a perfect friend for every period she’s interested in. Hmmm…

Comments are closed.