Following on from our last blog, we continue to supply you with top tips on how to recognise natural pearls.
Natural pearls are RARE
The rarity value means that the price a natural pearl commands is usually ten times the price of its cultured counterpart unless the pearl in question is particularly large, of a sought after shape or has been worn by celebrities as is the case of La Peregrina in which case it can go through the roof.
The IT factor natural pearl
One of the most famous seawater natural pearls is La Peregrina a drop shape natural pearl which was discovered in the Americas, it was given by Phillip II of Spain to Mary Tudor as a wedding gift. On her death it returned to Spain and was taken to France. Prince Louis Napoleon sold it to the marquis of Abercorn in 1837, the marquis’s son, drilled La Peregrina and recorded its exact weight, 10.192 grams [ over 50 carats in weight]. When, in 1969, Elizabeth Taylor bought a pearl reputed to be the Peregrina for $37,000, its authenticity was challenged. However, due to the exact record of its weight being kept, experts were able to confirm that it was indeed the famous pearl. It was recently sold again by Christies Auction House, for 10 million dollars plus saleroom fees! Goes to show what celebrity status can do for a pearls perceived value.
Oysters get Blisters!
Natural oyster blister pearls can be started by a parasite like a crab that settles in the shell, or a worm that drills through the oyster shell and dies, or larva that obstructs a duct within the shell becomes infected and is then covered with the epithelial cells that protect the mollusc. These pearls have a flat surface on one side because they have been grown on the inside of the shell.
Natural pearls which are 2mm in diameter or smaller are called seed pearls, they were particularly popular in Victorian times, on “parures” a set of necklace bracelets and earrings. Which were tiny pearls sewn onto mother of pearl ornamental shapes and strewn together. Horse hair was used to string the pearls, the horse had to be alive when hairs were plucked from its tail for longest durability and flexibility. The drill holes on these pearls are tiny and only maidens were allowed to make these popular Victorian jewellery sets, presumably because it was only very young eyes who could see well enough to stitch these pearls onto the mother of pearl backs. Dust pearls are also around and as their name implies they are but specks of irritation, not really worth bothering with.
One more blog to come on the this beautiful gem – the natural pearl!
She may only have been America’s First Lady for a brief couple of years but Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, with her elegant style, left a much-mirrored legacy to the fashion world. Portman portrays her with aplomb in Pablo Larraín’s fêted biopic Jackie. The film’s French costume designer Madeline Fontaine was recently awarded the 2017 Costume Design BAFTA for her epic recreations of Jackie’s outfits.
Jackie excelled in simple, classic dressing: camel, white, black and navy were her staple colours. She loved a strapless silk dress in a shade of sherbet to make her jewellery sing. She was queen of oversized shades and luscious headscarves. And no doubt the best-known 1960s Jackie O image is of the tailored suit, pillbox hat and white gloves – perfectly accessorized, of course, by several strings of pearls.
Jackie, who once said: ‘Jewelry is epoch making and to me it has a significance of its own’, was sure of the impact of jewellery on a look. Her pearls – usually the three-strand necklace, sometimes a pair of oversized statement pearl and diamond earrings and perhaps also a brooch – were her daily, go-to accessories. Surprisingly, these were often not of the real variety. But she gave them iconic status anyway, and in 2010 two of her simulated pearl necklaces along with a pair of faux pearl and diamond earrings sold for more than £50,000 at auction – an inflation of its value by more than 10,000 per cent.
In the well-known words of Mrs Kennedy: ‘Pearls are always appropriate.’
Channel your inner Jackie O with our pearls:
Classic 3 Strand Biwa Pearl Necklace in White, £273
Large Freshwater Pearl Stud Earrings, £137
Triple Strand Biwa Pearl Bracelet in white, £166
This week the team at Coleman Douglas Pearls have decided to showcase just how well Pearls match with everyone’s favourite metal, Gold.
Why do we love gold so much? It was the first metal to be widely known to the human race, beautiful, shiny and malleable it has been the favourite ever since. The Incas referred to gold as the “tears of the Sun” which is rather romantic. Gold is dispersed widely throughout the geologic world, its discovery occurred to many different groups in many different locales, and nearly everyone who found it was impressed with it as was the developing culture in which they lived. Gold’s early uses were ornamental, and its brilliance and permanence (it neither corrodes nor tarnishes) linked it to deities and royalty in early civilizations. It’s never gone out of fashion and we don’t see it ever doing so any time soon.
With Gold being ‘tears of the sun’ let’s match it with our favourite gemstone and what the Georgian and Victorian eras symbolized Pearls as “tears of mourning”. The earliest record we have of pearls as precious objects are artifacts from Mesopotamia dated to around 2300 B.C and recently, a two thousand year old pearl was found in an Australian Aboriginal archaeological dig in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Persian Gulf was one of the main sources of natural pearls for centuries, as were Venezuela & Panama where pearls were discovered by Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Balboa on their travels. Natural ‘real’ pearls are very rare these days and are worth thousands. Cleopatra won a bet that she could provide Marc Antony with a banquet costing more than the assets of a country. She took off a pearl earring, dissolved it in wine and drank it. How’s that for value!
We have lots of variations of pearls, gems and metals and don’t forget that we create bespoke designs, so if you have any of grannies pearls and gold lying around come in and meet our pearl specialist and designer Chrissie Douglas who will come up with a beautiful new design and make a match made in heaven.
Hope to see you at our studio soon at 42 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London.
The new issue of VOGUE is out and to mark their 100th year anniversary they have published this special issue that celebrates the faces and fashions of a century.
Why do we feel you should take a good look at this magazine?
Perhaps it is because Coleman Douglas Pearl jewellery is featured in the Mario Testino photoshoot!
Within the story ‘As Time Goes By’ styled by Lucinda Chambers, our large ‘Joy of Life’ freshwater pearl earrings and our double strand freshwater pearl necklace are featured.
This is not the first time that Mario Testino has used our pearl jewellery in his work, highlighting the fact that ‘…pearls are always appropriate’ – Jacqueline Kennedy.
In 2001 Testino photographed the main fashion story for Vogue’s 95th year anniversary issue, where yet again our pearl jewellery was featured, but this time in a Georgian styled shoot.
In the image on the left you can see our multi-strand white freshwater pearl bracelet with oval centerpiece inspired by a family heirloom.
Now if you are beginning to think that pearls are just for classic shots then let me prove you wrong.
Here is the very first appearance of CDPearls in Vogue also styled by Lucinda Chambers and shot by Mario Testino – where the model is looking very edgy …still think pearls are just for the ‘Twin-set and Pearl’ look?!
‘Pearls are a mainstay and immune to the vagaries of fashion’ – Chrissie Douglas
When you think of Marilyn Monroe most people instantly think of her singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ to JFK. But as it is The Pearl Month we have slightly adapted the words…
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Mr Pearlfect, Happy Birthday to you!
Continuing our ‘Pearl Family‘ walk, we will be focusing our attention on Akoya Pearls.
Marilyn Monroe was given an Akoya Pearl Necklace from Arthur Miller on their wedding day, and continued to wear it long after the divorce.
Akoya Pearls originate in oysters farmed in Japan. They are created when a technician implants a spherical resin or mother of pearl bead into the pearl bearing oyster alongside an epithelial cell graft that has come from the mantle tissue of a donor oyster. The graft forms a pearl sac around the bead implant which is then slowly covered in layer upon layer of nacre, eventually forming a pearl.
True or False…Akoya pearls are born in pale blue/grey colours?
TRUE, although these colours are rarely found for sale in the market.
True or False…Akoya pearls take 1.5 to 3 years to be made?
TRUE. Originally experts recommended that the bead/irritant should be left in the host oyster for three years. At present the accepted time is 1 ½ years, which results in a good 0.5mm nacre coating.
Dream of owning an Akoya Pearl necklace, bracelet, or earrings? Then again how about a set?!
Call into our London Pearl Showroom, where our Pearl Company will help you select irresistible Akoya pearls to suit, with pink, white or golden hues.