Become a connoisseur of natural pearls in 10 easy steps: Part 1

Here are some key tips and facts on how to recognise a natural pearl!

Natural pearl vs not natural pearl … that is the question. On the exterior and to the naked eye, there is no obvious difference between a natural pearl and a cultured pearl. The difference arises from the fact that a natural pearl is formed accidentally and without any human intervention, while a cultured pearl is started by the introduction of an irritant by man, after which the process is continued solely by the metabolism of the living mollusc. In both cases the formation of a pearl is the result of the self-preservation reaction of the mollusc.  If it does not get expel the irritant it must cover it in nacre, otherwise it will die.

LadyDysart Natural FW pearl Necklace

The chances of finding a seawater natural pearl are 1 in 5000. The term natural pearl implies accidental formation without any human intervention. A natural pearl is caused by the protective reaction of an oyster or mussel to the accidental introduction of a foreign body into its organism. This reaction starts by the mollusc covering the intruder with epithelial cells which will form a pearl sac around the intruder, the pearl sac deposits concentric layers of nacre that surround the offending object and slowly form the pearl, layer by layer. Natural pearls can be formed in seawater or in freshwater.

Make a pearl or … DIE Natural pearls occur when a piece of shell, coral, bone or a large piece of grit hooks into the flesh of the oyster, it breaks the surface of the epithelial cells and carries with it epithelial or nacre producing cells. The oyster tries to expel the intruder but if it is unable to dislodge the irritant, this foreign body will start the formation of a pearl. A grain of sand is hardly ever involved in the production of a natural pearl as the oyster lives in sand and can easily expel it. Elisabeth Strack an eminent pearl specialist of our day discovered another way in which a natural pearl can be formed, refer to the diagram shown, if the epithelial cells covering of the mantle is broken and these crucial nacre making cells travel as a group into the mantle, this in turn will form a pearl sac and a natural pearl will be born.

Edited E Strack Epithelial cell diagram

Stay tuned for part 2! Soon you will be an expert!

WHAT IS YOUR COLOUR ?

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COLOUR is both very objective and subjective. Many of us know what colours we suit, but do you know what colours will really give you the va va VOOOM effect, easy choose the pearl colour that best suits your skin tone,  consider if you tan well or not and bear in mind the colour of your eyes.

Bluish-grey pearls will generally suit someone with blue eyes, while a peacock green Tahitian pearl will suit someone with green eyes. Warm cream to gold pearls will suit a complexion that tans easily. Another factor that affects the overall harmony of the face is your lip colour without make up. Hair colour should also be taken into consideration when selecting pearls.

A VERY rough guideline of pearl colours that suit different skin tones is set out below:

Olive toned skin – golden pearls

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Dark skin – white or warm cream pearls

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Pinkish rosy complexion – rose to cream pearls

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Pale skin – rose to white pearls

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The best cultured and natural pearls have overtones; this effect makes the pearl very attractive and interesting to the eye of the beholder. Warm cream overtones can bring a softness to the final effect, Bright Pink overtones suit people with Blue or Green eyes. Pearls with peacock overtones can be worn with clothes of any colour, as the pearls themselves will echo any tone. The best way to ascertain which colour is the most appropriate is to try on various tonalities within the colour that you are looking to choose from. For example there are four main tonalities within white pearls. Intrigued? Book a consultation with our pearl specialists at 42 Beauchamp Place, London SW3 1NX to ascertain the best colour and tone for you.

Jackie film revives a fascination with pearls

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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:

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Classic 3 Strand Biwa Pearl Necklace in White, £273

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Large Freshwater Pearl Stud Earrings, £137

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Triple Strand Biwa Pearl Bracelet in white, £166

Types of Pearls

cultured_grid_largeHere at Coleman Douglas Pearls we understand that there is a lot of mystery behind pearls and how they are formed into beautiful pieces of jewellery, but there doesn’t need to be. It’s quite simple really.

As you probably know, they are created by oysters and mussels. Oysters tend to only produce one pearl in its lifetime whereas mussels can create up to 120 pearls. Pearls are a result from the protective reaction of an oyster or mussel to accidental or deliberate introduction of a foreign body into its organism. This reaction creates concentric layers of nacre (mother of pearl) which are deposited on the foreign body covering it completely.

No two pearls are the same. They usually have some form of irregularity which all adds to the natural aspect of this lustrous gem.

There are four main types of pearls that we sell here at Coleman Douglas Pearls, there are South Sea, Tahitian and Akoya pearls which are formed in oysters and there are mussels formed freshwater pearls.

south_sea_white_gold_pearls_compactSouth Sea Pearls– tend to be 9-14mm in size and are produced in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They vary in shades of white and gold.tahitian_pearls_compact

Tahitian Pearls are similar in size to the South Sea pearls but come in a variety of colours from white to deep black through aubergine and blue, all shades have a grey over tone. Tahitian pearls are mainly produced in Tahiti (surprise) French Polynesia and Mexico although some can be found in Autralia.

Akoya pearls  were first cultivated in Japan, their size varies from 3-10mm in size and in colour they range from pink through to white, gold and grey.akoya_medium

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Freshwater pearls are  produced mainly in China and are the easiest to access type of pearl but beautiful none the less. Some of these pearls can be called Biwa pearls which this is a generic name as the most famous freshwater pearls originated in Lake Biwa in Japan.

For a more in depth over view of pearls have a read through here. Or come along to one of our pearl talks, more dates coming soon.

Award winning pearls

47b-webOur designer Chrissie Douglas has won numerous design awards since starting her career, especially in her Tahitian pearl designs. Chrissie’s aim has always been to offer an investment in style and value by utilising her expert pearl knowledge coupled with an excellent network of suppliers. Her innovative and fresh use of pearls with semi-precious stones and other more unusual materials like leather, silk gauze, wood and felt have produced unique designs.

Titania warrior pic2Out of all the ranges that Chrissie has designed our favourite for the winter has to be the Warrior pearl collection. This collection never goes out of fashion as it is so edgy it enables the wearer to go full on Rock Chick or just to slightly toughen up an otherwise girly outfit. Mainly made from knotted leather and Tahitian pearls this range sure knows how to make an impact. Wear the Tahitian Warrior armband and earrings with your most feminine outfit this Christmas party season and you will be guaranteed to wow your friends.

cog dia ss ne + macaroonOur fine jewellery range is also perfect for all the glitz and glam of this time of year. Enhance your natural sparkle with our cognac diamond and south sea necklace – a great transitional piece through the seasons picking up on the golds of Christmas but also delicate enough to wear in the spring and summer. Other great investment pieces include our Tahitian pearl, diamond and rainbow moonstone pendant and matching earrings. The moonstone has a gorgeous adularescence effect where the light travels across the gem changing its colour from apparently colourless to gorgeous blues.

590.Paul ViantFor other final flourishes to your party outfit please bring a photo of you wearing the outfit along to our showrooms where our pearl team can then source the perfect finishing item. Whether you choose to go for an amazing statement necklace or a classic pair of earrings, here at Coleman Douglas Pearls we’ll have the piece for you!

Wrap up in Pearls!

snow08 1internetIt is most definitely winter and here at Coleman Douglas Pearls we are always looking for ways to stay warm. However, bundled up in scarves is not always the most glamorous look so we thought why not wrap up in pearls to keep warm… At our pearl jewellery showroom we have a variety of different ways for you to wrap up against the cold.

First up is are our multi strand pearl necklaces that can be worn alone or layered up together for a dramatic final look as shown by a bevy of celebrities over the years. In addition to the multi strand pearl bodies that we have in store we also have pearl lariats and lasso’s that are designed to be worn together or separately, depending on your mood.

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In addition to our long pearl ropes we also have a selection of shorter multi strand pearl necklaces that look great worn over all those thick jumpers we have been keeping warm in.

But whatever the weather has in store for us over the coming months don’t forget to pop in and say hello! In addition to serving the best coffee around we also have a few tasty Prestat Chocolate Truffles to go with it and you’re surrounded by all our beautiful pearls, what could be better.

See you soon!

Fireworks and pearls!

Fireworks over Palace of Westminster seen from South Bank

garnet and SS prlRemember remember the 5th of November . . . . Fireworks night is almost here! Our pearl team can’t wait to get out onto the streets to see some amazing displays! Two of our favourites being the Battersea Park and Southwark displays. The perfect opportunity to see London at its finest – bathed in a multi coloured glow. Speaking of which our pearls are just the thing to set off your winter complexion. Pearls enhance the wearers beauty when the right colour is placed upon the skin so if you think pearls don’t suit you then come in for a consultation with our pearl specialists at 42 Beauchamp Place to ascertain the best colour and tone for you.

fireworks blogNE3204A few other events for you pearl lovers in November include Hair by Sam McKnight on at Somerset House. Follow this incredible hair stylist through his 40 year career in the fashion world. After collaborating with the likes of Linda Evangelista and Chanel expect pearls also to feature heavily in the images! Also don’t forget to check out the London Jazz Festival featuring great jazz artists from international professionals to new artists. You know we always tell you that pearls need to be worn – here is the perfect opportunity to cheer up the dark November nights! Cocktails, great music and you will be looking after your pearl jewellery – its a win win win scenario! We will be waiting to hear all the gossip from you soon!

 

 

Halloween!!

pearl + seed pearl ne +flowerColeman Douglas Pearls adores halloween! Not only is there chocolate and sweeties aplenty (we currently have Prestat chocolate truffles in store for all our lovely customers) but our dark coloured pearls really put us in a playful spooky mood. None more so than our amazing Night Shadow collection. This collection is inspired by the striking quality of light in darkness. It contrasts the sensuous feel of pearls with their casual opulence in shades of peacock black.

BR284 BlackThese pearls get their colour after a pink pearl is treated with silver nitrate changing the colour to this gloriously dark hue. This collection is bang on trend with lots of the catwalks being dominated with dark velvety coloured hues which complement the pearls perfectly. From simple single strands to more statement pieces we have the item for you!

Also getting in on the dark theme are our stunning tahitian pearls! These are perfect for those of you looking to upgrade to a luxury spooky event this time next week. Think Morticia Addams as your fancy dress inspiration, dark, sexy and the most glamorous woman in the room. Either layer up your tahitian row necklaces or keep it simple with a pendant – you will have every woman in the room wishing they had made more of an effort that a pointy hat or devil horns!

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Whichever pearls you decide to wear please send us a photo of you looking glam on social media – follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

Tourmaline – A rainbow of colours

Thunderbirds4Those of you who have been to our pearl jewellery store in London will know how much Coleman Douglas Pearls loves tourmaline! Tourmaline comes in so many different colours and shades it complements our pearls perfectly. October babes are very lucky indeed as not only do they have opal as a birthstone they also get tourmaline to pick from!

DSC_8207aeOne of the most interesting facts about tourmaline is that because it does have such a range of colours it is often mistaken for other stones. This is even reflected in its name, which comes from the Sinhalese “thoramalli” which means “mixed gems”.  Tourmaline can be coloured from black through all the colours of the rainbow to a highly prized Paraiba tourmaline – an intense bright blue shade originally found in Paraiba in Brazil. Not only does tourmaline come in individual colours it can also come bi-coloured often in shades of pink with green. These colour zoned tourmalines are affectionately known as “watermelon” tourmalines for their resemblance to the fruit.

However, tourmaline is not actually a single mineral, but instead a group of minerals related in their physical and chemical properties. The mineral Elbaite is the member of the Tourmaline group that is responsible for almost all the gem varieties.

tahitian + Tourmaline NE + petalsWe love that tourmaline can be paired with any colour pearl especially our multi coloured tahitian pearls. Tahitian pearls  grow in the Black lipped oyster which produces black pigment and are found in the surrounding area of the archipelago of French Polynesia, Panama and Mexico. Their colours are naturally dark and range from grey to black and peacock green to aubergine; however, they can sometimes be very light in colour from white to yellow and pink all of which have grey overtones.

We would love to talk to you more about tourmalines and pearls so pop into our pearl showroom soon!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pearl + seed pearl ne + macaroons 2October is breast cancer awareness month – something that all of us here at Coleman Douglas Pearls are very passionate about supporting. Raising awareness for the disease is very important to us so we have come up with a few ways for you to raise awareness at home! Firstly Breast Cancer Care are holding The Big Pink on 14th October this year. This is the perfect opportunity for you to gather your friends and family and host a pink tea extravaganza!

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The theme would obviously be Think Pink with a pink dress code, pink pearls, pink food, pink drinks . . . the list of possibilities is endless! Make sure you register to get your free kit and ask everyone to donate generously of course. Either host it at home or convince your boss to turn your workplace into a pink paradise for the day (mention charity and cakes and watch the idea take off!).

classic pink + rose + macaroonsOn a similar theme are bakesales at the school gates (guaranteed to raise money as kids+cakes+amazing cause . . . ) why not even get the school to help and get the children involved! If baking cakes is not a possibility maybe decorating could be? Or even just getting them to make decorations in class for the aforementioned party could be a great way of getting the younger generation involved and raising awareness.

3240 WebsiteHowever if your feeling active why not take part in one of the hundreds of sporting events across the country and raise money that way. Whether it is a 5km race for life, marathon, or even a triathlon, pull on your sports kit and raise money for a good cause! And don’t forget to wear your pink pearls with pride as you cross the finishing line! Also keep your eyes out for our own special take at our pearl jewellery store located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX.