Here 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 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 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.
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.
A new month means a new birthstone and this month it is the pearl – associated with faithfulness, loyalty & friendship. Pearls are formed 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 which are deposited on the foreign body covering it completely. Nacre layers are very thin, translucent and reflect light, thus creating the pearls distinctive lustre.
There are many different types of pearl including natural seawater and freshwater pearls and their cultured counterparts, you can also get imitation pearls. The main features of a pearl are shape, purity and lustre. Seawater pearls are produced in an oyster and can be either South Sea pearls originating in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and range in colour from white – gold or Tahitian pearls from Tahiti and Mexico, which come in a variety of colours but always with a grey overtone.
Freshwater pearls are produced using a mussel as opposed to an oyster. Their colour naturally ranges from white to pink and peach. These pearls are farmed in sweet water and are mainly produced in China. Pearls are kept most lustrous when worn next to the skin and can be seriously affected by beauty products. It is best to apply all make up first, including perfume, then add the pearls after cleaning your hands. Fake tan and hairspray are also your pearls enemies! To clean your pearls just use a slightly damp, clean cloth and only use water.
Here at our Beauchamp Place pearl jewellery store we have a wide variety of all types of pearl for you to look at. If you are looking for a special gift we offer a personal shopper service and we can also re-design existing pieces.
Finally we have got through the summer and September is here with all her delicious oyster goodness!
But before you dive into the oysters let our Pearl Company share a pearl of wisdom with you.
Only eat oysters in months containing the letter ‘R’ in their names. For example September, October, November etc.
…It would be wise to follow this nugget of golden information!
Did you know that the oysters you eat are completely different to the oysters that create cultured pearls?
The oysters that create cultured pearls are far more chewy than the succulent ones served in restaurants.
Fancy an Oyster and Pearl extravaganza?
If you roam over to Knightsbridge your wish can come true with the delicious sea food restaurant Outlaws at The Capital located on Basil Street and our Pearl Center located 3 minutes down the road on Beauchamp Place.
But which type of cultured oyster pearl do you choose? Akoya Pearls, Tahitian Pearls or South Sea Pearls?
To reflect the Indian Summer (we hope to have) let’s look at the naturally golden coloured South Sea Pearls.
Produced in gold lipped oysters that inhabit the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma, the pearls are usually 9-16mm in diameter.
Join us at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX, where our Pearl Team will help you find the perfect South Sea Pearl shade to suit you. From necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, tie pins… the world is your oyster (excuse the pun!)
‘All art is autobiographical. The pearl is an oyster’s autobiography.’ – Federico Fellini
Many of you will have watched the James Bond films ‘Man with the Golden gun’ and ‘Golden Eye’. But why, I hear you ask, is a Pearl Company dedicating a whole blog to them?!
The clue is in the title…Gold.
Did you know that you can find deep golden natural coloured pearls?
Produced in gold lipped oysters that inhabit the waters of Indonesia, the Phillipines and Burma, Golden South Sea pearls range in size from 9 to 16mm in diameter.
The pearl’s colour all depends on the colour of the host oyster shell. Gold lipped oysters create pearls that range from a light golden hue to a deep orange golden hue.
Do you desire some Gold in your life?
Our Pearl Showroom, as well as having a golden interior, has a stunning selection of golden south sea pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Join the likes of Sarah Hyland and Michelle Obama who both love their golden pearls.
‘Modern Family’ actress Sarah Hyland, wore her golden south sea pearl and diamond necklace to the Golden Globes…a rather fitting occasion for golden pearls! While Michelle Obama wore her 3 strand Tahitian and South Sea pearl necklace to a conference.
So the big questions is…where will you wear yours?
‘The best things in life are free. The second best are the most expensive!’ – Coco Chanel
So the big question is… what was sold for $5.1 million? A house, super car, gym palace? …try a pearl necklace!
The 4 strand grey natural saltwater pearl necklace was sold on Tuesday at the Christie’s Jewels Sale setting yet another milestone auction price for a natural pearl necklace. One of our pearl company members was able to closer inspect this necklace, spotting a few marks here and there, she come away in awe of the beauty of the metallic coloured hues of the pearls.
This isn’t the first time that a natural pearl has been sold for such a high amount.
Do you remember the Elizabeth Taylor jewellery auction? One item of jewellery that particularly caught the attention of our Pearl Team was the necklace holding La Peregrina, one of the most famous seawater natural pearls.
Discovered in the Americas, the drop shaped natural pearl 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. In 1969 Richard Burton purchased the pearl off the Dukes of Abercorn and set it in the extravagant necklace setting seen today, gifting it to Elizabeth Taylor.
Important Facts to know about Natural Pearls:
The natural pearl process is hardly ever, if ever, started by a grain of sand, due to the oyster being able to easily expel it. The process actually occurs when a piece of shell, coral, bone or large piece of grit hooks into the flesh of the oyster. If the oyster is unable to dislodge the irritant then it will jump into self preservation mode, covering the foreign body in nacre, eventually making a pearl.
Do you dream of owning a natural pearl necklace, bracelet, ring or brooch?
If you do you’re in luck as our Pearl Company has a beautiful collection of natural pearl jewellery at our Pearls London showroom.
Make an appointment with our pearl specialist today to make your dream natural pearl jewellery a reality….not all natural pearl jewellery costs $5.1 million!
Intrigued by Tahitian Pearls?
Well you should be. Naturally dark their colours range from grey to black and peacock green to aubergine. However, they can sometimes be very light in colour from white with grey overtones to yellow and pink.
Here at Coleman Douglas Pearls we have Tahitian Pearl necklaces, Tahitian Pearl bracelets, Tahitian Pearl earrings, Tahitian Pearl rings and many other Tahitian Pearl accessories.
Tahitian Pearls are made by inserting a mother of pearl bead, the nucleus, into a black lipped oyster. These particular oysters are found in Panama, Mexico and Tahiti. Tahitian pearls are mainly 8-18mm in diameter, although they can grow to 21mm. To see a beautiful selection of these pearls call into our Pearl Showroom, located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX.
Tahitian Pearls are the perfect pearls for all the ‘twinset and pearl a’fobes’ who want to still look elegant while retaining the edgy glamorous style.
We have several designs that use Tahitian Pearls alongside contrasting materials such as leather and metal.
Our fabulous Tahitian Pearl drop earrings are the perfect example of how we have mixed materials together to create interesting, beautiful jewellery.
The light pink ribbon used in these earrings allows the Tahitian Pearls to sway while almost looking like they are floating, while the bead picks up the peacock colours of the Tahitian Pearls.
As well as having a fabulous diverse collection of Tahitian Pearl designs, we also offer a Bespoke service. Make an appointment with our Pearl Specialist and Designer, Chrissie Douglas, and start creating jewellery that you will wear for a lifetime.
This week we, Coleman Douglas Pearls, are looking at Akoya Pearls.
How and where they are made, the colours they come in and where you can find the most beautiful
Akoya Pearl necklaces,
Akoya pearls are created by technicians implanting a spherical mother of pearl nucleus into the host oyster alongside an epithelial cell graft that has come from a donor oyster. The graft forms a pearl sac within which the oyster secretes layers of nacre to cover the nucleus. Grown mainly in Japan, the pearls can range in size from 3mm to 10mm, and on rare occasions 10.5mm in diameter.
The host oysters need to be 3 years old before they are able to hold a pearl successfully.
Akoya pearls are normally found in all shades of white from very pure white through pale pink to golden tones. They can also be found naturally in pale grey shades, although this is unusual. Most Akoya pearls are bleached and “pinked” a permanent colour change and a process which leaves them permanently lighter in colour than when they were originally created in the oyster.
It is very important to find the right colour Akoya Pearl for you.
Not everyone looks good in dazzling white.
Our Pearl Team at Coleman Douglas Pearls, located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX, is on hand to help you choose the perfect pearls for you.
As well as providing classic Akoya Pearl strand necklaces and Akoya Pearl earrings, we also create designs by mixing different pearls together.
For example have a look at the necklace being worn by our model.
We have used Freshwater Pearls, Akoya Pearls and South Sea Pearls to create exciting, new, unusual designs.
Join us at our Pearl Showroom to see a wider selection of designs and collections.
Do you really know your pearls?
How your pearls were made?
Where your pearls were made?
Which type of oyster created them?
It would be amazing if experts could extract DNA from your pearls without disrupting their value, with results that show how old they are, where they were made and which oyster produced them.
For centuries it was thought impossible to isolate the genetic material of a pearl without destroying the gem… until now!
A Swiss research team, lead by Joana Meyer of ETHZ Zurich and Laurent Cartier of SSEF, have successfully managed, for the first time in history, to extract trace amounts of DNA from a variety of cultured pearls while still retaining the value of the pearl.
The genetic material is usually located in the organic matter found in the calcium carbonate matrix of the pearl.
The Swiss team used a fine drill to enlarge the existing drill hole of the pearl in order to isolate the DNA without destroying the pearl. Once extracted the DNA revealed the species of pearl oyster and the age of the pearl.
If you would like to learn more about your pearls then make an appointment with out Pearl Specialist and Designer, Chrissie Douglas, who will be able to give you an in-depth valuation of your pearls.
‘Chrissie Douglas can tell a natural pearl from a cultivated one as easily as you and I can tell a tomato from an aubergine.’ – Lucia van der Post, FT How To Spend It
We have 2 more Pearl Talks coming up in November so book quickly to avoid disappointment as these events are often oversubscribed. Chrissie Douglas will guide you through the history of pearls, going into detail about a wide selection of cultured and natural pearls.
These Pearl Talks take place at our Pearl Showroom, located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX.
The season is changing with vibrant reds, golds and bronzes appearing in the leaves. But how about adding some glorious autumnal colour to your wardrobe? ….Golden South Sea Pearls?!
Golden South Sea Pearls are produced in gold lipped oysters that inhabit the waters of the Philippines New Guinea and Burma. The South Sea Pearl golden colours vary from very light to deep, intense gold.
South Sea pearls are usually 9-16mm in diameter although you can find some that are well over 20mm.
Here at Coleman Douglas Pearls we have a magnificent selection of golden South Sea Pearl jewellery, as well as several loose South Sea Pearls that can be made into a Bespoke necklaces, bracelets or earrings. Make an appointment today with our Pearl Specialist and Designer, Chrissie Douglas, and start designing one of a kind jewellery that you can wear and treasure forever.
‘Pearls play the same role in a women’s jewellery collection that the little black dress does in their wardrobes – it is the all-time classic.’ – Lucia van der Post
As well providing timeless classic South Sea Pearl strands we also have several other designs that incorporate a variety of different coloured stones. For example the necklace on the right is made up of Citrine, Garnet, Tahitian Pearls and South Sea Pearls.
The contrasting colours and textures in this necklace add depth, while the clasp tassel can be worn at the front or back giving you two looks in one pearl necklace.
If you would like to learn more about Pearls come and join us at our Pearl Showroom, located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX, for one of our Pearl Talks.
Chrissie Douglas will teach you all about the different types of pearl, how and where pearls are made, how to discern if a pearl is real or not, how to choose the best pearl for you, as well as much more.
These Pearl Talks are often oversubscribed so book early to avoid disappointment.
Natural Pearls, South Sea Pearls, Tahitian Pearls, Akoya Pearls and Freshwater Pearls…. do you know the difference?
Come and join Chrissie on Wednesday 9th October at Fortnum & Mason, where an exclusive event entitled ‘Passion for Pearls‘ is happening.
Chrissie will guide you through the history of pearls, sharing her passion for the oldest gemstone know to man.
Following the talk you will have the opportunity to ask questions and view, try on and purchase the wonderful pearls. If you would like to reserve a place for this event please call Fortnum & Mason on 0845 602 5694
When asked what drew her to Pearls Chrissie replied, ‘The beauty of pearls has always seduced me. Pearls lend a mystique to their wearer and a lustre that lightens every complexion. For hundreds of years they have been intrinsically linked with romance, art and beauty. Pearls can be dignified, happy, complex – they are always sensual – who could not fall in love with them?’
Born in Mexico to well-known British artists, she was exposed to creativity from an early age. It was at that time that she learned the importance of mixing colour and texture to achieve an effect pleasing to the eye.
As you look through our collections you will see how she has mixed exciting contrasting materials together to make beautiful eye-catching jewellery for you to wear and treasure.
As well as having a wide diverse collection of pearl jewellery ready to purchase, we also offer a fantastic Bespoke service, re-stringing and re-designing, and an ear-piecing service.
If you would like to find out a bit more about one of these services contact us on 020 7373 3369 or pop into our Pearl Showroom located at 42 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NX.