© Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia
Pearls have enjoyed a fantastic revival over the past few years, and key to the gem’s transformation from grandmother’s favourite to catwalk showstopper has been the realisation that pearls have more uses than just being strung one after the other in a long row.
The hero pearl – a piece of jewellery designed around a single pearl – beautifully shows off the lustre and natural beauty of this gem, but it has another benefit. Some pearl manufacturers are reporting that prices of a string of pearls have risen as much as 40% in the past year, and with more price hikes expected in the next 12 months, trendsetting designs with a single hero pearl don’t just look good, they address cost issues.
This design concept can work well across an entire suite of jewellery, as Sarah Ho of SHO Fine Jewellery shows by making pink pearls the star gems of her Florabella collection. The gems work well as both the studs of the drop earrings and the centrepiece of the ring and pendant.
Florabella is a very contemporary collection, and we are seeing pearls being used in increasingly modern designs. Heritage British jewellery house Boodles has trapped grey Tahitian pearls within diamond-set spikes in its aptly named Cutting Edge earrings, while Yoko London has created an ear cuff in rose or white gold with long diamond-set drops that lead to an impressively sized 13mm pearl.
POP OF COLOUR
One of the joys of pearls is the vast rainbow of colours that nature creates them in: dark and moody Tahitian pearls, golden South Seas, creamy Akoyas, peachy Freshwaters.
While the vogue for perfectly shaped, identical white pearl necklaces held sway for a long time, jewellery designers are now using more unusually coloured pearls to add a punch to designs.
Flora Bhattachary has recognised the beauty of a single pearl and has chosen her hero carefully. Her Chauri pendant is a long twisted shard of 18ct gold broken up towards the end of the tip by a bright flash of an exquisitely hued, tiny peacock pearl. The clashing colour of combination of the pearl and the gold makes a fantastic impact.
Jersey Pearl also uses colour in its popular Joli bracelet collection, but this time the colour comes from a leather band that the pearl is affixed to, setting off the beautiful creaminess of a single white pearl.
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA
A rising trend in the pearl jewellery industry is the use of carved or faceted pearls. This is still fairly rare, but when using a single hero pearl it can add an extra point of interest.
Trendsetting pearl jewellery designer Melanie Georgacopoulos has a wonderful selection of quirky pearl designs, and one of her collections, Faceted, has taken pearls and subjected them to faceting in the way one would a diamond. The designer says that this has “allowed light to penetrate their inner surface and expose their organic beauty within”.
Galatea specialises in carved pearls, creating spiral designs or floral shapes, and has even set diamonds within them. It is also the creator of the Momento Pearl, a carved pearl with a microchip set inside that turns it into a piece of smart jewellery, playing a voice message when it is touched to a suitably enabled mobile phone. A trendsetting hero pearl indeed.
This article was originally published on JewelleryNetAsia on 28.04.15. I write a weekly column for this website about global jewellery trends.