Cultured pearls

Pearls In A New Light

Pearls are making a comeback as a fashion trend.  Find out more about them in this article, and make sure you know what you’re wearing – ideally before you buy . . .

Pearls are known as the Queen of Gems and the Gems of Queens, and we think for good reason. If we had to pick gemstone as our favourite, it would be the pearl.

When you mentions pearls, the thought it conjures up in most of our minds is perfectly round white pearls in a classic rope. However, bucking this look is a variety of exotic pearls that are becoming more well-known, and even considered trendy.

Golden South Sea – Exclusive and exquisite

The first of these, perhaps for the privileged few, is the Golden South Sea Pearl.

South Sea Pearls are the largest of all pearls on the market, and the ones most people know are the large white pearls.  However the gold lipped Pinctada maxima is a mollusc that produces a natural gold colour to pearls cultured in them, and produces this beautiful golden hue.

The Philippines has acquired a reputation for setting up pearl farms that produce stunning, large high quality golden pearls. The demand for these pearls is far higher than supply, with the wealthy rapidly buying up any that they see. But with a starting price for a good quality string running into tens of thousands of pounds, Golden South Sea Pearls are the world’s most expensive pearls, and can lay claim to being the definitive Queen of Pearls.

Bold quirky shapes

A welcome trend we’ve seen is the appearance and acceptance of pearls shapes other than round – cross, bar, diamonds, squares, coins and (perhaps our favourite), the freeform Keshi pearl with no defined shape.

The Chinese pearl industry over the last several years has been innovating with a wide variety of new and exciting shapes for freshwater pearls. While some of these shapes have now been around for a few years, these haven’t yet been used by many jewellery designers but we are sure this will change soon.

We’ve embraced this from the outset, and already use potato, wheat, square, coin and Keshi pearls in our Goddess Collection of pearl jewellery.

Fireball – Baroque Pearls

Something relatively new and popular are s0-called Fireball pearls. Fireball is the common name given to a particular type of baroque pearl with a tail that resembles a comet. These have a very thick nacre (outer shell) which takes several years for a mollusc to produce, creating an iridescent overtone that the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) refers to as “Orient” in their Pearl Description System.

This type of pearl tends to also have a few irregularities in shape, forming bumps and asymmetry that give each pearl a charm and character of their own. We love this look, and created an elegant pendant called Lasema which consists of a single Fireball pearl on a pendant, to showcase and celebrate its unique, organic form.