Saltwater, freshwater, baroque, keshi, round, Tahitian, Akoya...
Often associated with our grandmothers, pearls long held a dusty reputation of being old school. A strand of pearls was classic, but boring. A new school of contemporary jewellery designers are changing that perception, crafting remarkable and modern pearl pieces that are anything but traditional. From Completedworks to
Pacharee, this group of designers are very different in style, but they all contest the idea of dustiness and elevate pearls to new standards by crafting jewellery pieces that are both contemporary and interesting. We love how pearls have taken on new meanings, becoming a more daring choice.
Every pearl is unique
Historically, pearls are the oldest gem known to man and have been coveted for centuries. From ancient Egypt and Cleopatra to 1920s fashion and Coco Chanel, pearls have always been held in high regard. Used as forms of adornment and trading commodities since they were first discovered, most likely by chance by people searching for food along sea shores, they have had many different symbolic purposes: purity, protection and status. Unlike gemstones that are mined from the earth, pearls are formed in living organisms, in bodies of either marine or freshwater molluscs. Cultured pearls are formed in the same way as natural pearls, when an irritant becomes lodged in the soft inner body of a mollusc, causing it to secrete a crystalline substance called nacre which builds up around the irritant in layers. The difference being the way the irritant ends up there; by chance or when man places it there. Classified as organics, every pearl is unique and they come in hundreds of different varieties; from perfect spheres to baroque forms.
Pearls come in
a variety of shapes
A nearly spherical or off-round pearl can develop when the irritant in molluscs stays unattached to the shell. A perfectly round pearl is very rare.
When an irritant or nucleus becomes attached to the shell, irregular and non-spherical shapes can develop. The irregular surface generally emphasizes the pearl’s lustre and iridescence.
A type of baroque pearl, irregular in surface, these pearls are formed without a nucleus, which causes them to grow into various shapes. The word Keshi comes from Japanese and means poppy; a reference to its typically small size.