Elegant Pearl Jewelry, Art-Inspired Necklace Our elegant necklace, adorned with cultured freshwater pearls, recalls the lustrous pearl jewelry depicted in European paintings in The Met collection. These masterworks include Judith with the Head of Holofernes, ca. 1530, by Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472-1553); Portrait of a Young Woman with a Fan, 1633, by Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669); and many others. Beginning in the 16th century, expanding global trade routes made pearls an affordable luxury for many. The elite of Renaissance Europe lavishly draped themselves with pearls as symbols of status, taste, and wealth.