With the election of Kamala Harris as Vice President, the pearl is having a revived moment in the spotlight. Harris declared pearls as her favorite jewelry and consequently the jewelry world is buzzing with excitement. To be honest, I was never much into pearls until I met a pearl dealer who was so jazzed about his product that you couldn’t not spend 2-3 hours with him every time you dropped by his office. By going through multiple flats of pearls with him and learning what he had to share, my interest got piqued about pearls, too! As my appreciation grew, and as I built my knowledge of pearls, I began to recognize the nuanced differences and got excited to pepper them into my work – looking for pearls like I would a gemstone. I searched for particular hues or unusual shapes or markings that would make a pearl unique, or even the absolute rare perfectness of a pearl. I dove into the stories and history of pearls and where they came from that makes them distinct. Each one I choose had to spark excitement within me, encouraging creativity to create something fresh and new. Here are a few of my favorite pearl pieces I've created:
In this pair of earrings on the right, I used tiny freshwater pearls to accent the antique carved coral panels. I love their softness compared to the hard edges of the panel. Plus they pulled out the white mottling in the pinkish-red coral. The coral itself was actually revived from a pair of my mother's earrings that she had bought in the 1950s on her travels as a child. They had been simply set in brass as a stud earring... so of course I had to make them fantastic!
This Pink Flamingo brooch was created with a client's collection of conch pearls that her late husband had collected while living in the Bahamas. While conch pearls are highly valuable, this commission was about creating a sentimental piece of jewelry – a memory of her husband. I love that I could use all the different sizes, colors and qualities in one piece. The incredible, large pearl was ideal for the feathery body of a flamingo and the "rocks" ground the flamingo perfectly! It was a treat to work with such rare gems and be allowed full creativity.
I had bought these incredibly matched baroque pearls eons ago. I just loved their large size, their curvy drop shape and the juxtaposition of black and white. The coral branch is actually cast from a piece I found on the beach in the Bahamas. It is in raw white gold to bring out the inner warm glow of the pearls – not rhodium plated, which would create a bright, cold white color. There are some tiny diamonds sprinkled in and they are detachable from the tops of grey and white moonstone and salt & pepper diamonds.
This pair of pistachio-hued pearls are an example of pearls I purchased for their stunning color, which while vivid, is softly luminescent. I had fun playing with textures and used some green shagreen to accentuate the round qualities of the pearl and curves of the sugarloaf-cut pale green tourmalines. Together, all the elements make a perfect marriage of greens.
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