Ploh Notes

Welcome to Ploh Notes where we offer a monthly taste of a connoisseur’s experience. A delectable selection of topics touching on precious heritage, unique travel destinations, epicurean lifestyle and even artisanal handicrafts will tap into your deep appreciation for long-standing traditions and the simple pleasures life brings. We also entice you with bites of information on our premium bedding items and news about beautiful hotels around the world where discerning guests indulge in Ploh’s soft touches.

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Pearls – A badge of authority and glamor

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Traditionally women have worn pearls as a badge of respectability (think debutantes coming out) and authority (think Margaret Tatcher). The pearls have since evolved to become a statement of classic style – the sight of them on the elegant Michelle Obama brings to mind the fashion sense of Jacqueline Kennedy … of course there’s also Audrey Hepburn – and today they are perhaps the glamor girl’s new best friend.

While pearl shells had been used as decorative objects as far back as the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, and Asia has had pearls from the Indian Ocean and South China Sea from as far back as 206BC, it was only in the 15th century that pearls and pearl oyster banks in Central and South America were discovered by Christopher Colombus. The discovery marked the start of the “Pearl Age” as it was known among the European royals and aristrocrats.

Given the rarity of natural pearls, and since cultured pearls did not exist until the 20th century, pearls were considered highly valuable jewels. And because they symbolised purity and power many royals in the past adorned themselves with strings and strings of pearls.

Here are 3 of the world’s most famous natural pearls.

Elizabeth Taylor’s “La Peregrina”

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With 500 years of history behind it, the La Peregrina is one of the largest perfectly symmetrical pear-shaped pearls in the world. Originally found by an African slave in the Gulf of Panama in mid 16th century, it was later given to Don Pedro de Temez the administrator of the Spanish colony in Panama before coming to the possession of Philip II of Spain, who then gifted it to his bride-to-be Mary I of England.

After Mary I passed away, the pearl became part of the Crown of Spain for the next 250 years, after which it made its way to Richard Burton via a Sotheby’s auction in 1969. Burton then gifted it to his fellow Hollywood actor and wife Elizabeth Taylor on Valentine’s Day. Originally worn as a brooch by Mary I, Taylor commissioned Cartier to re-design the pendant, setting it with diamonds, rubies and pearls.

The Indian Maharajas’ “Baroda Pearl Necklace”

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Indian royal families were famous for their massive pearl collections. Considered one of the most extravagant pearl necklaces ever created, the Baroda pearl necklace was worn by the Indian Maharajas from the state of Baroda for centuries after it first came into the posession of the Maharaja of Baroda, Khande Rao Gaekwar in the 19th century.

The original 7-strand Baroda pearl necklace consisting of 350 pearls was later reconstituted by Cartier into a two-strand pearl necklace with just 68 of the finest and largest pearls from the fourth through seventh strands of the original – all perfectly spherical and matched for size, color, lustre and shape in a graduated fashion. It was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2007 for USD7.1 million.

Marie Antoinette / Barbara Hutton pearl necklace

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A relatively unassuming piece compared to the previous two, this single-strand pearl necklace holds its own when it comes to historic significance. Consisting of 41 graduated natural pearls measuring between 8.50 to 16.35mm with a diamond cluster clasp, this strand of pearls possibly once belonged to the French Queen Marie-Antoinette.

The pearls are described as white, nacreous, perfectly spherical in shape, possessing a brilliant luster and arranged symmetrically in a graduated fashion. No one knows for sure how the necklace made its way from being part of the crown jewels of France into the hands of heiress Barbara Hutton, granddaughter of Woolworth department store magnate, who reportedly wore it on her first wedding to Russian Prince Alexis Mdivani in 1933.

Besides Asia, natural pearl sources include the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka. Venezuela, Colombia and Panama were also pearl suppliers. However ever since Mikimoto successfully came up with a way to farm pearl oysters, most pearl jewelry pieces today are made of cultured pearls – and they can be quite a work of art too. To admire more pearl pieces look forward to the next Baselworld show in March 2016.

Create a statement in your room or living space with these stylish European square pillows – the perfect companions for lounging in or out of bed. Available online at

musings by ms. ploh
ms. plohFresh thoughts to ponder…Pearls may be the glamor girl’s new best friend but I like to think I’m everyone’s best friend. After all who wouldn’t want a luxurious night’s sleep? Check out my fellow shapely friends at

A stroll in the park a city lover will love

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The irresistible draw of summer to nature’s beauty can be even more appealing to some when the vibe of the city is a close distance away. Conceptual gardens may be thought-provoking, but venturing into open green spaces or among lush trees offers that get-away feel the season inspires – without getting too far away, that is. Enjoy these scenic landscapes in Singapore, Tokyo and Perth (we know – it’s winter in Perth but its beauty will still bring you out):
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Conceptual Gardens: The art of making a statement

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Summer is on the horizon and some of us understandably look forward to spending more time outdoors, thinking of places to visit for the holidays. If you enjoy parks and gardens but are thinking to do something different this year, consider conceptual gardens.
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Tea Appreciation: Before the Infusion

The pleasure of enjoying a cup of tea goes back for millenia, with various parts of the world having its own distinct tea culture. China, Japan, India and Britain are a few tea-loving nations that quickly come to mind (with the latest news being that the average Briton drinks 876 cups of tea a year!)

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Crazy for Tulips

Cheerfully bright and colorful tulips originally hailed from Constatinople, or present-day Istanbul, and in 1593 were introduced to Holland by Belgian botanist Carolus Clusius. The tulips had been ‘talent-spotted’ by his neighbour, who stole and sold a few bulbs off his garden. This was the beginning of the Dutch bulb trade, which lead to the famous Tulipomania. Despite the severe economic depression following the burst of the overinflated tulip bubble, the flower’s beauty and uplifting vibrancy remained undeniable.

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The attraction to tulips today is certainly relatively milder, but stimulated by the pure beauty of the flower rather than its profit potential. Tulip lovers can appreciate some 15 categories, among which three are showcased below:

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Bonsai: when mankind shapes nature

The art of bonsai has roots going back to some two thousand years back from the Chinese art of penjing or miniature landscapes. It is believed to reach Japan in the Heian period (AD794 – 1185) during a time of rich cultural exchange and over the centuries had become a symbol of cultural refinement. In fact in a Japanese work of fiction, the author mentioned that the shape and style of a tree had the ability to move someone only when it is “kept close to human beings who fashion it with loving care”. Thus the art of growing trees in containers or hachi-no-ki, which literally means the bowl’s tree, developed.

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How to ploh


Love the Classic Plohs but looking for a more compact and versatile version? Turn to the Mini. Offering the same feel in a smaller size, the Mini comes to the rescue when nothing else will do: between the knees, under an ankle or held against your chest. Even the little ones love it. Available online at

Aman at Summer Palace Beijing

Dignified, traditional Chinese architecture, serene courtyards and loaded with history. With its strategic location to Beijing’s cultural landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Aman at Summer Palace Beijing is the ideal place from which to explore the city. Enjoy a perfect mix of traditional ambience and surroundings with every imaginable element of modern comforts when you stay with Aman at Summer Palace Beijing.

we're now offering more divine bedding options online - strictly for the most discerning. take a look at our new reserve collection and limited editions.

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ploh. more than bedding... fully living.

artisanal handicraft

motion in stone - a captivating paradox
bespoke shoes: survival of the finest
the basic of complications
chiming complications: the music...
carols in a box...
the luxury of telling time: artistic...
the luxury of telling time: creativity...
vision perfect
luxury cycling: a simple pleasure...
the architect of sound & his masterpiece
the handwritten note – as welcome...
ordinary made extraordinary
eggs the way you like them: lux...
through the good-looking glass
pottery: an ancient craft breaks out of...
wood. a master's turn for beauty.
the beauty of inlays
all that glitters is not crystal...
the dream weaver...
lace: what did coco chanel think?
kimono. from underwear to art

epicurean lifestyle

pearls – a badge of authority and glamor
tea appreciation: before the infusion
cup a cuppa like an expert
sniff & sip the water the water of life
heirlooms. the blessing is in the seed.
wake up and savor the roast
for the love of cheese
not all pralines are created equal...

precious heritage

pearls – a badge of authority and glamor
tea appreciation: before the infusion
bonsai: when mankind shapes nature
“entre deux ... or just say it with flowers.
simple Christmas: no-tech toys for...
the handwritten note – as welcome...
a simple (slightly sinful) pleasure
eggs the way you like them: lux...
responsibility gets creative: new...
through the good-looking glass
pottery: an ancient craft breaks out...
... (for the cultured sweet tooth)
the glory and stories of bells
the beauty of inlays
the dream weaver...
lace: what did coco chanel think?
kimono. from underwear to art
unwind and rediscover the joy of...
a restful remembrance
here comes the bed. err ... bride!


there's no stopping a musician and...
designer minds as brilliant as jewels

simple pleasures

conceptual gardens: the art of making...
tea appreciation: before the infusion
crazy for tulips
fun and festive around the world
the pocket notebook ... a gentlemanly...
art appreciation: a simple investment of...
entertaining with fuss-free elegance
photography: simple pleasure or modern-day art movement?
the power of fragrance – more than...
“entre deux ... or just say it with flowers.
hosting summer's beauties
ordinary made extraordinary
rosa, irene … queens and their stories
classical music as a communal...
we love a rosy autumn
heirlooms. the blessing is in the seed.
go on and bare it all. it’s for your...
pampering architecture? actually, yes.
romance ... fragrance at its finest.

the bedspace

the power of fragrance – more than...
introducing: ploh reserve collection...
refresh for spring (it’s not what you...
wistfully dreaming of sleep?
even sleeping beauties want to party...
how to ploh (...and you thought you...
a restful remembrance
Summertime ... and the sleepin’ is breezy
journey to the land of snooze...
to sleep, perchance to dream
what's your doze pose? see what it says...
sleep more, weigh less

travels & destinations

a stroll in the park a city lover will love
conceptual gardens: the art of making...
destinations for the artistically inclined
summer getaways to take you back
wonders worth the wait
travel types and itinerary tips (for...
summer destinations: shopping treasures
a festive waltz through continents
all roads lead home. but before you...
dreaming of a getaway? escape with...