Jewelry by Rachel Quinn
Remember this beauty from a pearl jewelry auction report in 2019? Van Cleef & Arpels cultured Triple Strand Pearl Necklace with carved Emerald and Diamond Pendant. Photo courtesy of Christies Auction House
Before we all plunge into 2023, I thought it would be a good idea to briefly look back at 2022 and remember all the major Pearl News that happened this past year.
Many important milestones and trends happened, things that I think we can all feel pretty good about as we collectively and slowly recover from all-things-covid, and I think it's important to acknowledge them.
We are all making progress, one day at a time and that's definitely worth celebrating! It is all too easy these days to let such events pass into the collective ether due to our 24/7 information overload, and for me at least, these particular happenings all deserve to be remembered and remarked on them on last time before we march into a new year.
Every year, the Cultured Pearl Association of America holds a pearl jewelry design contest, and every year, I can't help but marvel over the winning entries.
Entries are divided into domestic and international categories, so there can be multiple winners in any single category. Below are my absolute favorites from the 13th Annual Pearl Jewelry Design Contest.
Photo courtesy of National Jeweler
These stunning, amazing, MARVELOUS pearl earrings were composed of South Sea (21.0x15.0mm), Japanese Akoya (4.5-6.0mm) and Freshwater pearls (7.0x10.0mm), set with pavé Diamonds, Pink Sapphires and Tsavorites in 18K Yellow, Rose and White Gold.
Created by Tariq Riaz LLC, these incredible pearl earrings earned the CPAA's Presidential Award (domestic division), which is the highest honor for the competition. Bravo!
Photo courtesy of Cultured Pearl Association of America
This fantastical bracelet certainly captured my attention! Composed of White, Pinkish and Champagne White South Sea Pearls and accented with a mix of round and baguette-cut Diamonds and mother-of-pearl golden inlay, this unique bangle is straight out of a fairy tale.
Created by Shikha Pathak, this whimsical pearl bracelet also earned the CPAA's Presidential Award in the International Division. I am blown away by the intricate detail and overall feeling of fantasy with this delicate confection.
Photo courtesy of National Jeweler
Delicate yet dynamic, these Tahitian Pearl Earrings named “Overtone” by designer Alexia Gryllaki of Alexia Gryllaki of Greece won the Visionary Award, International Division from the CPAA in 2022.
Blending the geometric essence of Art Deco with off-set, minimalist modern lines, these earrings are simply sensational, and I could envision them at home on any red carpet event in the world. Set with Tahitian pearls, baguette-cut Diamonds, Emeralds and pear-shaped Garnets in 18K Yellow Gold.
See the rest of 2022's winners here: https://www.nationaljeweler.com/articles/11459-these-pearl-jewels-won-the-2022-cpaa-design-competition
Photo courtesy of BBC
Still in its very infancy, the practice of modern pearliculture in India is slowly coming into bloom. Historically, India was one of the most famous sources of both salt and Freshwater natural pearls in the world.
The infamous Baroda Pearl Necklace that has been passed down for hundreds of years, originally belonged to the Mahratta Gaikwar of Boroda in the 1800's. Unfortunately as the centuries passed, and the reefs and rivers became overfished the natural pearl beds in India dwindled away.
Starting in 2016, a small businessman in India named Narendra Garwa, decided to change all that by purchasing some mollusks and trying his hand at pearliculture ... at which point he realized that raising mollusks is really, really HARD. ""My first attempt was a disaster," he admits. Of the 500 mussels he purchased, only 35 survived."
However, he decided that he wouldn't give up on his new venture. By 2022, the burgeoning pearl farmer is about to harvest 3,000 pearls! His efforts have been noticed, and he is now teaching other entrepreneurs how to start their own small pearl farms. Good luck to them all!
Read more at the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-62204515
The largest and most famous gem and jewelry shows in the world, the JCK Las Vegas Show has finally resumed their normal June schedules ... restoring yet another piece of the "regular" world for all of us. The show in 2020 was cancelled completely due to pandemic restrictions, and 2021 was moved to August instead of its usual June dates and attended almost exclusively by American vendors and retailers.
Vendors were thrilled to be back, and happily JCK also included the AGTA (the American Gem Trade Association) exhibits this year as well. The AGTA Gems Pavilion is my absolute FAVORITE section of the show where all the loose colored precious and semi-precious gemstone dealers are located. Pearl jewelry sales were brisk, with industry stars like Yoko London and Picchiotti drawing crowds of admirers and buyers.
2022 heralded the year that Vegas was finally back, baby, and that was something everyone in the jewelry industry can smile about; here's to a bright and new year and successful shows that are just as crazy-busy and thrilling as I remember.
On September 8, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth passed away at her Scottish estate Balmoral after 70 years of rule. She was the longest serving monarch to ever sit on the throne, and thousands of British citizens thronged outside of Buckingham Palace afterwards to express their grief and mourning.
Coronated on June 2, 1952 at Westminster Abbey, the "Queen Mum" as she became affectionately called quickly became known for her fondness of pearls, and was rarely seen without one article of pearl jewelry on.
The Triple Strand Pearl Necklace she wore for this royal portrait was a necklace she had custom made shortly after taking the throne, and remained a treasured favorite of hers that she wore regularly throughout the years, especially whenever she addressed the nation.
Photo courtesy of WWD Blog
Both the Queen and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, now Princess of Wales both shared a predilection for pearl jewelry, and the Queen regularly lent the Duchess various pearls from the Royal Jewels Collection.
Above the Princess wore black and pearls as a sign of mourning after the Queen's death during a luncheon. This longer Triple Strand Pearl Necklace was also a favorite of the late Queen's. Also worn were the Queen's "Silver Jubilee Diamond and Pearl Earrings" as a tribute to the Queen.
Photo via Kate Middleton Style
Kate Middleton pictured at the official State Funeral wearing the former Queen's four-strand Akoya Pearl and Diamond Choker and the Bahrain Pearl Earrings. The Queen had the choker crafted out of Japanese Akoya pearls given to her by the Government of Japan during a State Visit.
Made by Garrard, the Crown Jeweller, the choker has made numerous appearances throughout the Queen's reign, and has become a personal favorite of Kate Middleton's.
The wearing of pearl jewelry during periods of mourning is an old tradition that stretches back to Queen Victoria's rule; pearls are understated, yet elegant and sophisticated ... the perfect choice for occasions where one needs to maintain an aire of quiet dignity.
Photo via Glamour
Just the year before, the Queen's husband, Prince Philip passed at the age of 99 years old, and Kate also wore the Japanese Pearl Choker and Bahrain Pearl Earrings.
The Bahrain Earrings were crafted from a pair of perfect natural pearl drops given to the Queen as a wedding gift from the ruler of Bahrain to Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947. An appropriate choice to honor the late Prince and the Queen during such a somber moment.
No doubt about it, the last few years have been incredibly hard for all of us and we can only pray that the worst of it is finally over.
As 2023 dawns, I hope that each of you has a beautiful year waiting for you ahead, filled with love, good health and new, exciting opportunities! I'll be here, keeping you all up-to-date on the latest in pearl education, jewelry trends, amazing auction news and more.
Until next week ...
P.S. - Do any of you have any special topics you'd like to see covered here? Drop a line and let me know - I'd love to hear from all of you! Ashley@purepearls.com
Diamonds are wild with our "Royale" Akoya Pearl and Diamond Dangle earrings. Each pair of Japanese Akoya pearls are hand-selected and matched for their bright, mirror-like luster, perfectly round shapes and gorgeous, pastel overtones of Rose, Silver or Cream.
Sparkling diamond accents weigh 0.41cttw approx., and are meticulously pavé set around the top and down the center of the dangle, which measures a dainty 7/8-inches in length including the pearl. Choose your preferred pearl size from 8.0-8.5mm up through our largest 9.5-10.0mm size.
Each pair of pearls is hand-matched for color and luster, and are mounted on your choice of 14K White or Yellow Gold friction posts and backs. Earrings arrive in our Signature Little Black Gift Box along with a Certificate of Authenticity and Care Instructions.
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