As Hilary Mantel’s “The Mirror and the Light” hits the shelves, have you been inspired to embrace all things Tudor? The Times fashion editor, Harriet Walker, is advocating “big headbands, huge sleeves and giant pearls” as strong themes this season.

I would need some serious convincing about the big headbands, but she is preaching to the converted about the pearls. These lustrous organic treasures from the water beds of the earth have been prized for centuries.

Prior to the culturing process, pearls were only available if they evolved naturally- hence they were rare and extremely expensive. This is evidenced in Renaissance paintings which feature characters- both men and women, of power, status, privilege and wealth draped in ropes of natural pearls.

The characteristics of good pearls.

 There are several criteria considered when pearls are graded and priced:

  • Size: which is expressed in 0.5mm incremental intervals;
  • Shape: there is a multitude of shapes available which include round, oval, teardrop, button and baroque;
  • Lustre: the quality and intensity of the surface reflection;
  • Colour: this includes the primary body colour of the pearl, and overtone (or secondary colours);
  • Surface: an assessment of how blemish-free the surface is and considers the size, number and severity of imperfections;
  • Thickness of nacre: this affects the optical properties of a pearl and the subsequent durability. If pearls are not given enough time to develop, the nacre is thin and vulnerable, and the lustre and iridescence is poor.

There are several different pearl varieties which include Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea and Freshwater, each producing a distinctive range of sizes and colours as they develop in different molluscs. To view gem quality Tahitian pearls possessing natural, covetable secondary colours, press HERE.

Refinements to the culturing of both salt and freshwater pearls have led to an abundance of high-quality pearls- once one of nature’s most rare and exotic gifts.

We have a number of beautiful pearl pieces which possess these characteristics, which include a pair of teardrop pearl and diamond earrings, or for something more contemporary, the C-shaped pearl earrings are a popular choice. If you’ve always pined for the luxe of a simple, beautiful pearl stud earring, our Akoya pearl studs are available in a range of sizes, and with either white or yellow gold posts.

Jewellery design continues to be re-interpreted to remain relevant and modern, and this is also true of pearl jewellery.

So, now you’re armed with these little “pearls of wisdom”, go and appreciate these wondrous gifts of nature through slightly more educated eyes, and appreciate these captivating gems.

If you’re desperate to channel some Anne Boleyn, pictured above are a couple of divine pearl pieces to get you going.

The Tahitian pearl and diamond lariat set in rose gold is particularly special- the colour combo is sublime.

For all enquiries, or to explore bespoke pieces, please contact us.