Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History hosts “Pearls: A Natural History” through July 20 at the museum’s expansive Druid Hills complex in East Atlanta.

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago, “Pearls” is an abbreviated, yet educational glimpse into the cultural and natural history of pearls, tracing their formation, harvesting, and the numerous ways they are worn and used in secular and clerical dress. Oversized, detailed models of mollusks and pearl-producing snails, along with high tech projection displays and four in-gallery documentaries illustrate the intricate development of the organic gems.

Spotlighting the long-standing cultural association of pearls to royals, religious leaders and Hollywood’s elite, the seven-gallery show features pieces once owned by Marie Antoinette and Josephine Bonaparte, as well as a pearl-embellished Byzantine dalmatic. Cinephiles will delight at the exhibit’s mix of film memorabilia, including over-the-top costume baubles worn by Joan Crawford and the cultured pearl necklace given to Marilyn Monroe by husband Joe DiMaggio during their 1954 honeymoon. The signature piece is Audrey Hepburn’s famous wrapped strand of faux pearls from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

The museum is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE. Tel: (404) 929-6300.

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