We love pearls.
The lady who epitomised elegance in pearls is Coco Chanel. As once observed by Christian Dior, Mademoiselle Chanel revolutionised the way we dress with a black sweater and ten rows of pearls!
A you a Pearl Girl? There’s been so much emphasis on ‘bling’ the past few years and now I sense a return to manners and classy style. And what better way to demonstrate this than pearls? Pearls are the very antithesis of bling: subtle and understated, and so flattering to the complexion.
Pearls have undergone a rise in popularity after the launch of the movie, The Great Gatsby and Fashion labels like Chanel and Thakoon featuring them in their 2014 collections. Pearl Farms in China now produce some truly stunning freshwater pearls in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours, and there is the steady production of classic South Sea, Tahitian and Akoya pearls elsewhere.
Nearly all pearls now available are cultured pearls. The majority of pearls are grown in China, where some stunningly lustrous and huge pearls as well as perfect whites grow in freshwater mussels.
Most people think of 8mm round white pearls when they think of pearls; the sort of necklace that parents give you on your 21st birthday or might remind you of your grandmother. Not so any more!
Pearls can be found is so many amazing designs now! Big 15mm round pearls, dripping in luscious lustrous nacre in natural shades of lavender, pink, peach, apricot and white. There are pearls with wrinkled skin and patches of colour like someone has applied gold leaf to them. There are perfect round pearls with lustre so bright that the reflection is stunning. Chinese pearl farm skills have grown exponentially, with the quality of the pearls beyond anything contemplated only a few years ago.
Highly skilled Japanese entrepreneur, Mikimoto, developed the first commercial pearl farms in the 1930s and founded the firm which still bears his name and which is synonymous with Mikimoto Pearls. The two other classic types of pearl are Tahitian black pearls, which aren’t black and which aren’t from Tahiti (they tend to be dark green and are mainly from French Polynesia). These pearls range from dark green, through shades of green, aubergines, purples, chocolate browns, to startling blues and come from the Black Oyster. And then the most expensive pearls of all tend to be the South Sea pearls from Australia (think of Pas Paley Pearls) and Thailand, in shades from deep gold to white. Then there is A Passion for Pearls where you will find beautiful freshwater cultured pearls in classic designs as well as fun and edgy pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings designed with leather and pearls to suit all tastes!
The top tip for choosing pearls is not to focus on what will match an outfit. The pearls that you will love the most will be the pearls that sing out when placed against your skin. For pale skins often lavender shades look best. For darker skin light peach shades and white look amazing because of the contrast while blondes look great with black pearls or pale pinkish pearls that are so delicate on their skin.
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend; I believe women of substance wear pearls!
If you have any questions or concerns about your pearls, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
An exciting moment in time for A Passion for Pearls! JCK Jewelry Magazine has run a story on our Pearly Pets competition … yes, we have taken our passion for pearls to the heights of silliness however our customers are loving it!
Read the full article here:
I really enjoyed layering my 100 inch and 62 inch endless pearl necklaces at the Mosman Village Arts & Crafts Market. What do you think of this look? So romantic … so dreamy!
From medieval times to modern day Hollywood
This incredible story surely will be a Hollywood movie one day! It begins over 550 years ago when “La Peregrina” was worn and appreciated by medieval Spanish and British Royal Households, famous French Generals and beautiful Hollywood movie stars before ending up being auctioned for a fortune by Christies in 2011.
This historical pearl is called La Peregrina for a reason. The Spanish translation means the “Pilgrim” or “the Wanderer” and it certainly was. This is the amazing story …
The pearl, the size of a duck egg, 50.6-carats, shown here in an incredible Cartier setting, photo courtesy of Christies via Bloomberg, was found by an African slave on the coast of the isle of Santa Margarita in the Gulf of Panama in the mid-16th century.
The King of Spain
The pearl entered the Spanish Crown Jewels during the period of rule of King Ferdinand V (1479-1516) and his successor King Charles V (1516-1556).
La Peregrina then changed Royal families and travelled across the English Channel to England, a traditional enemy of the Spanish at this time. It was sent by the then King of Spain, Philip the 2nd (1527-1598) to be presented to Mary the 1st of England, also known as “Mary Tudor” or “Bloody Mary”. It was sent as a love token in anticipation of their marriage in 1554.
After Queen Mary’s death in 1558 the pearl was returned to Spain, where it remained for over 250 years, becoming a favorite ornament of all queen consorts of Spain.
Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain, the wife of Philip III of Spain, wore the pearl for the celebration of the peace treaty between Spain and England in 1605. It was then worn by wife of Philip IV (1621-1665), Queen Isabel (Elizabeth)
On Isabel’s death in 1644, the Pearl was passed to Philips second wife, Mariana of Austria. With the death of Mariana, details of the Pearl were also lost and it wasn’t until about 1813, over a hundred years later, that the Pearl reappears in history.
The Peregrina appears back on the scene thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte, and more precisely, his brother, Joseph Bonaparte who sat on the Spanish throne until he was defeated by the Duke of Wellington in 1813. Joseph then had to flee Spain and took with him some of the Royal Spanish jewels and the Peregrina Pearl. When Joseph died in Florence in 1844 he passed the Pearl to his nephew Charles Louis Bonaparte.
When Charles was dying he sold the Peregrina Pearl in 1873 to Lord James Hamilton, the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn, who was born in Mayfair, London.
During the next few years the pearl fell out of its necklace’s setting on at least two occasions. The first time, the pearl got lost in a sofa in Windsor Castle, the second time, during a ball at Buckingham Palace. On both occasions, the pearl was recovered. It remained in the Abercorn family for over a hundred years until it was placed with Sotheby’s for an auction sale in 1969.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton purchased the pearl at the Sotheby’s auction in 1969 for $37,000. He gave it to his wife Elizabeth Taylor as a Valentine’s Day gift during their first marriage. At the time Burton purchased the “La Peregrina” it was suspended as a pendant to a delicate pearl linked necklace. They decided to have the necklace re-designed using the expertise of Cartier. The result was a masterpiece of pearls, rubies and diamonds.
Elizabeth Taylor wore the Pearl in the 1969 film Ann of the Thousand days.
It is well known that Richard Burton bought specific jewelry knowing its historical past, and he commented, “It used to belong to the Welsh and I thought it time they got it back”.
So what of the Pearl now? After Elizabeth Taylor’s death in March 2011, her jewelry was shown on a world tour and La Peregrina was then sold at auction by Christies in December 2011 for over $11 million!
Read details of the auction here: Liz Taylor’s $11.8 Million Dog-Chewed Pearl Tops Record Gem Sale
To begin, what makes freshwater cultured pearls so special? Freshwater pearls are the most interesting of cultured pearls. No two pearls are alike, and often people ask me the difference between South Sea Pearls and Freshwater Cultured Pearls. It’s not simply about the big difference in price!
Freshwater pearls are solid nacre, durable, resisting chipping, wear and degeneration and come in all shapes and sizes. They are found in a variety of natural occuring colours and, although they are not as round as saltwater pearls, and may not have the same sharp luster and shine as akoya pearls, they are less expensive than saltwater pearls which makes them a popular choice for designers and those who wish to own more than just one classic pearl necklace.
Do you have a taste for freshwater cultured pearls? Visit A Passion for Pearls and find out how you can host A Passion for Pearls Party and share your love of pearls with your friends!