6/19/2019 / In Jewelry
The phrase to know is “understated elegance.” It’s for those times when you’re not dressed up, but you still want to bring some flare. Or you’re dressed nicely but it’s not quite the time for the top shelf items. The perfect way to split the difference is with pearls.
Because pearls don’t have quite the same sparkle and shine as gold and diamonds, they have the gift of adding a dash of beauty without going over-the-top for the occasion. Or to put it another way: “understated elegance.”
Pearls had a brief moment where they fell out of favor and were viewed only as “Grandmother’s jewelry.” With the exception of a couple of decades, pearls have been a staple of grace and beauty in every woman’s jewelry box.
The oldest known pearl dates back to 5500 B.C., and they have been seen in cultures across the planet ever since. Royalty throughout the centuries to high-society in the 1920s, pearls have been a favorite. Because of their peak in popularity in the turn of the last century, two important things happened: 1) pearls became associated with older generations, and 2) the population of oyster beds was immensely depleted. You have to go through 10,000 oysters to find one pearl.
From out of that strong popularity came ways to discover if pearls could be made artificially. Kokichi Mikimoto began trial-and-error tests for over two decades until in 1896 he finally got it right and received the first patent for what we now call “cultured pearls.” There’s nothing artificial about the pearl itself. It was simply created in a controlled environment by oyster farmers. Today there are four main types of pearls:
Freshwater pearls, mainly grown in rivers and lakes across China.
Japanese Akoya pearls, a variety of saltwater pearls that are arguably best-known in the world from Japanese and Chinese waters
Tahitians pearls, also a saltwater variety of pearls cultivated in the islands of French Polynesia. These are sometimes known as “black pearls,” although they are also found in beautiful shades of grey, blue, green, and purple.
South Sea pearls, the largest of all pearls, come in white, cream, and golden hues, and are found in the waters of Australia and the Philippines.
Still one of the rarest gems in the world, and the only gem to come from a living creature, pearls have been regaining their popularity with a whole new generation of women. From executives to Hollywood stars, today’s pearls have come out of the shadows of your grandmother’s jewelry box. Here are just a few:
Morning Dew Akoya Cultured Pearl Ring - 18-karat yellow-gold by Mikimoto; with a delicate design of gemstones and pearls, the Morning Dew collection mimics the subtle glimmer of nature’s dew drops. The centerpiece is an 8mm Akoya cultured pearl and 0.31-carat weight of diamonds set in 18-karat gold.
Marco Bicego Lariat Necklace - The inspiration for this comes from the delicate shape of the Lunaria flower and features a stunning combination of 18-karat yellow gold and black mother-of-pearl with a perfectly accented diamond pave clasp. This Lunaria Lariat is hand hammered and hand engraved by Italian artisans.
Monica Rich Kossan - The Poesy Ring Collection is inspired by a 500-year-old idea that dates as far back as when knights gave their maidens rings with inscriptions or "poesies" on the inside or out. Reimagined to create a timeless and contemporary collection, each ring is designed to have personal meaning and can be styled on different chains worn as a singular statement or a combined message composed of several rings. This 18-karat yellow gold poesy ring features a pearl accent with "the world is your oyster" inscribed on the inside.
Any of these items, as well as ones we’d love to show you in our store, are the best way to combine subtlety with your fashion this summer.