Words by Emily Algar

Guerlain Météorites Pearls

The house of Guerlain was originally founded in 1828, when doctor and chemist Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain opened a small boutique in Paris. Right from its genesis, the French luxuriate was an innovator in beauty, launching the first scientifically-developed skincare range, as well as the first contemporary interpretations of mascara and lipstick. Fun fact: the house also launched Shalimar in 1925, the first ever oriental fragrance for women on record. Through further expansion and an international network of renowned spas, Guerlain established itself as a lighthouse brand who would go on to shape the prestige beauty industry as it stands today – one that is as much about story-telling as it is about product.

It wasn’t until 1987 though that Météorites Pearls came to market. Perfectly round and unbelievably soft, Météorites were a curious invention that most beauty consumers had never seen before. The tiny spheres came in a spectrum of illuminating shades: soft pink for a youthful glow, butter yellow to counteract dullness and airy mauve to catch the light. The concept of swirling one’s brush to pick up fragments of each was both romantic and revolutionary; not to mention had a wondrous effect on the skin. Part colour corrector, part highlighter, part finishing powder, Guerlain’s Météorites quickly became a luxury beauty staple for well-to-do women, with the weighty silver compact a mainstay in handbags and powder rooms everywhere. In fact, it’s even been reported that early on, stock was rationed in France to make up for consumer demand (much like a modern day digital waitlist).

But the production of Guerlain’s perfect Pearls wasn’t an easy process. Originally inspired by the concept of rolling one’s powder into balls (a trend that is said to have originated in Asia), the brand spent years trying to develop or acquire machinery that could perform the delicate task. They ended up borrowing from pharmaceutical industries, designing a device that was similar to those used in tablet-manufacture. It moved the pearls slowly in a circular motion until roughly the correct shape, before they were individually finished by hand. As per Guerlain, there is over six months worth of training in order to become a Météorite artisan – simply because every element is done by feel and visual assessment.

Now in their 35th year, the Guerlain’s Météorites Pearls franchise has been expanded to include additional shades, a fluid primer and a less intricate but still beautiful compact. The radiant finish – that comes courtesy of encapsulated diamond powder, or ‘stardust’ as the brand so affectionately refers – has remained surprisingly modern, proving that classic glamour never really goes out of style. If you’re looking to even out your complexion and impart a soft veil of radiance, Guerlain’s Météorites Pearls might just be the loveliest way to do so.

1828: The house of Guerlain was founded in Paris

1936: Rouge Automatique lipstick – the first with a one-handed mechanism – is launched

1939: Guerlain opens one of the first “spas” in the world at 68 avenue des Champs-Elysées

1987: Météorites Pearls are launched