What's It All About?

The pearl – a glistening gift from nature – is alive with beauty, metaphor, suspicion, and myth. What is it about the pearl that has inspired artists, writers, and collectors over millennia and up to the present day? Join Chapman University’s Professor Fiona Shen for a talk about the unexpected natural and cultural histories of pearls, followed by a viewing of pearl masterworks in artist-jeweler Adam Neeley’s Modern Alchemy exhibition.


After Party: Follow us on a 2-minute walk and step into the opulent world of Adam Neeley’s gallery for an unforgettable post-lecture champagne reception and catalogue/book signing. As the insights of art historian Fiona Shen linger in your mind, immerse yourself in the glow of exquisite jewelry. Engage with fellow enthusiasts, perhaps even indulging in the rare opportunity to try on these masterpieces yourself. Let the effervescence  of champagne mingle with the allure of pearls, creating a moment you won’t soon forget.



Advance tickets recommended.


Museum members: $12

Non-members: $18


Lecture + After Party: Total capacity 20 tickets. Please purchase in advance.

Museum Members $50

Non-members: $65


About the Speaker

Fiona Lindsay Shen (Ph.D. Art History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland) joined Chapman in 2016 as the Escalette Collection Director and has committed to collecting and exhibiting the work of under-represented artists. Prior to this, she was Associate Professor and Director of Research at Sino-British College, Shanghai, PRC, a joint venture between University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and the Northern Consortium of United Kingdom universities, and consulted for cultural organizations and museums in China. She was Director of the Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota from 1997-2005. Her research interests lie in interdisciplinary approaches to design history and the decorative arts, and she is the author of the upcoming title Pearl: Nature’s Perfect Gem (Reaktion Books, 2023). She is the author of Silver (Reaktion Books, 2017) and Knowledge is Pleasure: Florence Ayscough in Shanghai (Hong Kong University Press, 2012) and has published extensively in the area of design history.

We look forward

to having you


Recent Happenings

Upcoming Events


Access Granted!