In Madame Koska’s atelier, Natalya, the expert on Russian Pearl Embroidery is highly valued, and plays an important part in the first mystery, Madame Koska and the Imperial Brooch. No wonder. It is a difficult, intricate form of embroidery, demanding perfection in the execution.
The level of opulence achieved by this style is unmatched by any other bead or sequin embroidery, no matter how valuable. The pearls themselves do not have to be very expensive, though beautifully rounded ones are preferred. But the combination of laying down gold couching thread, pearls, and sometimes other gems on brilliantly colored, heavy cloth, certainly is fit for royalty, nobility, the church, and the fabulously wealthy.
Pearl embroidery is no longer in high demand for fashion, but some great craft persons still make it, so the art is not lost. Many elegant, vintage patterns still exist and can be bought online. Here are a couple of links showing examples and techniques that would take the breath away from any embroidery lover, craft historian, or anyone who love the history of fashion.
This link leads to the site of a modern artisan who works with this medium.
This link will show you a historic image of a Russian princess wearing a priceless pearl-embroidered dress and a headdress to match.
This link takes you to a place that could have been Madame Koska’s…
I hope the history and images help bring more of Madame Koska’s creativity to life, and that you will enjoy these lovely crafts! If any of you mean to try making it, please send me a picture!