During the 12th century, in comparison with the luxury of the religious objects, luxurious civil objects took a larger role. Orders for jewels came from the most privileged because precious stones and metals were rare. The jeweller’s art became part of the goldsmiths’ art, was legally regulated, and placed in municipal corporations. Paris, Venice and Cologne became the main centres. Before, goldsmiths worked mainly in monasteries. The pearl, rarely worn by the Clergy and the nobility, was essentially intended for ornaments of the church. The meaning of the pearl was associated with the Virgin Mary in the Old and New Testament.
Agnes Sorel, wearing pearls, was painted as Virgin and the Child, by Jean Fouquet (www.kmska.be), late Middle Ages. Agnes Sorel was the mistress of French King Charles VII, and it has been known that she was the first women to be allowed to wear diamonds…even before the Queen!