| Hong Kong Jewellery 香港珠寶
Search
News & Highlight

News

  1. Q1 Gold Jewellery Demand Soft, Says WGC
  2. Jewellery Buying Groups Formed New Global Alliance
  3. Singapore to Host Jewellery & Gem World 2022
  4. ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Premiered in Tiffany’s 2022 High Jewellery Collection
  5. Christie’s to Auction ‘The Light of Africa’ for $18M in June
  6. New Board of Directors were elected to Jewellery Exporters Association of Turkey
  7. Oroarezzo back with Première Competition
  8. ‘De Beers Blue’ auctions US$57.5M at Sotheby’s
  9. CTF launches Mother’s Day collection
  10. Jewelers of America Announces The 2022 CASE Award Winners
  11. De Beers: Diamond Businesses Staying Cautious About Business Expectations
  12. Synthetic Alexandrite Pioneer David Patterson Dies at 89
  13. 205 CARAT FANCY INTENSE YELLOW DIAMOND GENEVA MAGNIFICENT JEWELS | 11 MAY 2022
  14. Rebecca Foerster Appointed As President of Hearts On Fire
  15. US Steps Up Sanctions Against Alrosa
  16. PGI Study Findings: Consumers Have Different Interpretations of Sustainability
  17. Irving Wong Appointed as Pandora’s General Manager For China
  18. Rolex’s 6 New Watches Unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva
  19. Sixième Sens par Cartier High Jewellery: Heteractis Ring
  20. Will Russian Diamond Ban Help Foster Lab-Grown Diamond Business?
  21. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  22. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  23. JEWELLERY GENEVA Takes Place between 30 March and 3 April 2022
  24. Christie’s Presents 228 carat White Dimond
  25. Gold Bar Integrity Programme to be Implemented
  26. Press Release: BONHAMS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BRUUN RASMUSSEN AUCTIONEERS – DENMARK’S LEADING AUCT
  27. Early Spring Fashion for Natural Diamonds
  28. Jennifer Garner Shines in De Beers Jewellers at the Premiere in New York
  29. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, “Cartier Women’s Initiative Impact Report”
  30. American Gem Trade Association Announces Partnership with JCK Show Again
  31. Chow Tai Fook and Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds Sign Supply Agreement
  32. Registration Is Open for 2022 JCK Show
  33. Alrosa Caught Up in U.S. Sanctions
  34. Tawhid Abdullah Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
  35. The Largest Blue Diamond Appears at Sotheby’s Auction
  36. Price Rise for Nearly 90% Of Fancy Colour Last Year
  37. Dickson Yewn’s Collectibles Given for Sotheby’s Charity Auction
  38. De Beers Boosts Production
  39. Watches & Wonders Geneva To Be Held In Hybrid Format
  40. Jewellery, Gem & Technology Dubai to Debut February
  41. Hong Kong Losing its Dominance as the World's Largest Watch Market
  42. Gift Guide for CNY
  43. Press Release: Sotheby’s Announces New Appointments To Luxury Team In ASsia
  44. Georg Jensen Becomes a Certified Member of RJC
  45. 555.55-carat Black Dimond Unveiled at Sotheby’s Auction
  46. GIA Appoints Anna Martin as SVP for Institute, Industry Relations
  47. Alrosa Boosts Direct Sales of Fancy Diamonds to Investors
  48. CIBJO General Assembly postponed to March 17 and 18, 2022
  49. 7,525 Carat Emerald Discovered
  50. Karl Lagerfeld Jewellery Collections to Shine
  51. Diamonds Travel To The Space
  52. Vicenzaoro January postponed to March
  53. America’s Youngest Jeweller Starts Business via Instagram
  54. Concerns over conflict gold arise again
  55. The 1st International Gemstone & Diamond Trade Summit Wraps Up in Macao
  56. The Knot’s Study:Over 30% of Respondents Say Natural Diamond Unimportant
  57. Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year: Very Peri
  58. Phillips Jewellery Auctions Fetch over HK$181 Million
  59. The World’s First Pure Gold Castle of Magical Dreams by CHOW TAI FOOK
  60. Jewellery Sales Jumped 78% During the Thanksgiving Holiday
  61. Gem Auctions DMCC’s Debut Auction Successful
  62. Cartier’s Christmas Tree Lights Up the City with Love and Hope
  63. Rediscovering Lacloche in Hong Kong
  64. Blue diamonds to lead Christie’s HK autumn sale
  65. JMA show to stage next Thursday
  66. HK auction to help Cambodian kids
  67. Basel fair cancelled again
  68. HKDI show to continue in Dec
  69. Gemfields sells 7,500-carat emerald for good
  70. Sustainability is key to diamond purchases, a report says
  71. Christie’s Geneva jewellery sale fetches CHF53.7m
  72. Cibjo forms working group on fei cui standards
  73. Only Watch raises CHF30m for DMD research
Read More...


HIGHLIGHT

  1. US market unfolds changes and potential
  2. The queen of gems, the gem of queens
  3. Classics return

Advertisement

  • A soufflé pearl is carved out and set with seed pearls and blue topaz by Little H. (Photo: Little H)
  • Parasol pendant featuring a carved Tahitian pearl and black diamonds by William Travis Jewelry. (Photo: William Travis Jewelry)
  • Sapphires and diamonds accent white South Sea pearls in these earrings by Yoko London. (Photo: Yoko London)
  • Pearls enhance the shank and top of these emerald rings by Andreoli. (Photo: Andreoli)
  • Inspired by the shape of the baroque pearl, Alessio Boschi created this seahorse in gold, accented with pearl“bubbles,” diamonds and gemstones. (Photo: Alessio Boschi)
  • Deirdre Featherstone uses both the art of maki-e and mosaics in dressing up the pearls used in her hoop earrings accented with diamonds. (Photo Deirdre Featherstone)
  • Example of a contemporary ring with a golden South Sea pearl set with diamonds in gold by Jewelmer. (Photo: Jewelmer)

The perseverance and progression of pearls

By Cynthia Unninayar

The beauty and mystery of pearls has fascinated humans since antiquity. Resulting from an accidental find while hunting for food, the bright shiny pearl evolved into a cultural object considered to be endowed with magical properties. Early on, these organic gems became the symbol of wealth and prestige. The first pearl necklace is thought to date back 2,500 years to the Persian kings in Susa with the discovery of a three-strand necklace in their Winter Palace.

Early appreciation of pearls can be found in examples of adornment in ancient India, Sri Lanka, China, and other parts of the world. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, large quantities of pearls flowed into Europe, where they adorned royalty and later became sacred objects of the Church. Following his travels in the 13th century, Marco Polo described the areas where pearls were found and their use in the palaces of Asian rulers, thus solidifying their popularity.

Along with the search for gold, emeralds and other riches in the New World, European explorers also sought out pearls. Dating back to the 1500s, European royal families considered natural pearls from the New World to be among the rarest and most prized of all things, even exceeding the value of gold and emeralds. “The pearl story begins with the indigenous people of the Americas,” explains Gina Latendresse, of American Pearl Company. “They collected molluscs for food, ornamental purposes and currency, long before European explorers arrived. Pearls were worn as adornments and mother-of-pearl shells were hand-fashioned as currency, ceremonial gifts and storytelling strings, most notably the purple Quahog Clam, aka Wampum. The European settlers arrived and traded pearls, sending them back to Europe to be included in crown jewels.”

Jumping ahead several hundred years to the early 20th century, the popularity of pearls reached its height, as did prices, with pearl jewellery accounting for a large portion of a jeweller’s sales. Then, in 1916, a seismic shift happened. The Japanese company Mikimoto began producing round “cultured” pearls, with a technique discovered by Kokichi Mikimoto in 1893. Although the natural pearl industry continued into the mid-20th century, the new and less expensive cultured pearls offered women of all classes the opportunity to own a pearl necklace or other form of pearl adornment.

As the culture of pearls spread out from Japan, pearls in all types and colours—from salt-water species to freshwater molluscs—began coming to market from Australia, French Polynesia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, the Philippines, Mexico, China and more. Over the nearly five millennia of pearl history, these rapid changes in the industry have occurred in just the last 100 years.

Today, the cultured pearl continues to enjoy a high degree of popularity and the traditional strand is a must-have in many jewellery wardrobes. Even the natural pearl, while rare and expensive, has an audience, albeit a much more restricted one than before. While cultured salt-water South Sea pearls have reduced pearl price levels from those of the natural pearls, there has been further “democratisation” of pearl jewellery with freshwater cultured pearls—and notably 95 percent comes from China.

In some ways, we can compare the pearl of today to a gemstone. Indeed, it is a living organic gem that comes in a variety of shapes, colours, sizes and types, from seed pearls to rounds, from flat to baroque, to cite but a few. As such, its usages are similar to gemstones. And, having said that, one of the trends over the last few years has been to combine pearls with gems, sometimes matching colours, while other times using pearls of various hues to contrast with colours gems and/or diamonds.

The basic pearl strand—or multiple strands—is a staple but, like gemstones, it dresses up precious metals in all designs. Clearly, pearls resonate with consumers. A recent poll by Vogue magazine of its Vogue Runway Instagram followers indicated that “delicate pearls had the most votes as far as jewels were concerned.” It is no wonder, therefore, that pearls of all types are dressing up jewellery, as designers create both modern and traditional styles.

Dressing up the pearl itself
In the last few years, designers have not only been dressing up jewellery with pearls, but have been dressing up the pearls themselves. One enterprising young designer is Hisano Shepherd. After visiting the Tucson gem shows and seeing so many gorgeous geodes, she came up with the idea of making pearls look like geodes. “I decided to start cutting and slicing the pearls and lining them with gemstones and seed pearls,” she explains. Shepherd also bores holes into pearls and sets this little window with gems as well. As a professional pearl buyer for her family business, she sources pearls from the large Hong Kong shows and is thus able to select ones with the right size and colour, which she then uses for her hand-crafted Little H jewellery line. “I use all sorts of stones, which have good colour,” she adds. Shepherd also uses the rarest form of freshwater pearls called “soufflé” pearls, which are cultured with earth matter. Once the earth matter is removed, she lines the “little house” with gems or seed pearls. She also uses golden, white and Tahitian pearls from the South Seas in her various collections.

Going for baroque, other creative designers are using their imagination to take irregularly shaped pearls and convert them into an animal, plant, flower or other motifs. One such designer is Alessio Boschi who seeks out these “perfectly imperfect pearls” for his collection of whimsical fish, rabbits, chickens, cats, mice, mythical creatures and more as well as his more serious interpretation of melting icecaps and desperate polar bears or endangered sharks.

As carved gemstones add originality to a jewel, carved pearls do the same with creative motifs. And, this trend is catching on. Among jewellers who are paying attention is Travis Kukovich of William Travis Jewelry. In his Parasol Collection, he used a carved Tahitian pearl in combination with black diamonds beads with two-tone carat caps, suspended from an oxidized silver chain. “I believe as a designer, we are fortunate that almost every piece is a collaboration with a stonecutter, pearl carver, or Pietra dura artist (inlay),” muses Kukovich. “Inspiring one another is a symbiotic relationship.”

Another one of Kukovich’s symbiotic relationships is the use of pearls that have been painted with the ancient Japanese technique of “Maki-e” as well as pearls decorated with mosaics. First developed in the Heian period (794-1185), the Maki-e technique, which means “sprinkled picture,” refers to Japanese lacquer that is sprinkled with gold or silver powder to create a design on an object, in this case, a pearl. Pearl mosaics are more recent and feature small abalone tiles that may also be painted with the Maki-e technique. Designer Deirdre Featherstone also pairs maki-e and mosaic pearls with gemstones to enhance the designs. “Maki-e pearls are a beautiful blend of talent and tradition, I was drawn to them because of the artistry and textural variety they added to our collection,” she comments.

← Back