When I shared a joke with Susan of Art in Stitches her reply rang little memory bells. I remember my mother saying that pearls should be worn or they would lose their lustre. Google found me this entertaining discussion which shows my mother was not the only one. In the very unlikely place of the Department of Computer Science I found me these wonderful pictures of some very formidable ladies wearing pearls.
This is Dame Nellie Melba the opera singer.
And of course Queen Elizabeth the first always seemed to have a rope or two about her person.