Inspirations

Imperial’s Big Push for Peacock-Color Pearl Jewelry

New York City. Jan. 17, 2020. Seasoned pearl jewelry maker Imperial Pearl, based in East Providence, R.I., has long been a proponent of cultured freshwater and akoya pearls. However, a recent deep dive into the wide spectrum of colors that Tahitian pearls have to offer has reacquainted them with the exotic South Sea beauties.

Imperial’s Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development and the director of marketing for the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA), says that its product development team recently explored using green, light blue, and the peacock-color Tahitians in different styles, determining that the peacock was everybody’s favorite.

“Just like peacock feathers, people see gray, green, and blue body color with overtones of pink, gold, and purple in the peacock-color Tahitian pearls,” she explains. “Everyone liked the light blue colors, but everyone loved the peacocks. Stores that haven’t been paying much attention to Tahitians said they had to have it.”

And while Imperial had been making a lot of jewelry in white gold, the brand decided that the peacock-color pearls were best complemented by yellow gold. Confirmation of this move? The earrings shown below won an industry award.

About 10 classic styles are available to date, with more to come in the next few months.

Editor’s Note: This author works part time for the CPAA.

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with a peacock-color Tahitian pearl and diamond accents, $875; available online at Montica Jewelry

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with a peacock-color Tahitian pearl and diamond accents, $875; available online at Montica Jewelry

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with peacock-color Tahitian pearls and diamond accents, $1,760; available online at Montica Jewelry

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with peacock-color Tahitian pearls and diamond accents, $1,760; available online at Montica Jewelry

Ring in 14k yellow gold, a peacock-color Tahitian pearl, and diamond accents, $1,875; can be purchased through Montica Jewelry at (305) 446-2957

Ring in 14k yellow gold, a peacock-color Tahitian pearl, and diamond accents, $1,875; can be purchased through Montica Jewelry at (305) 446-2957


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Inspirations

Ana Katarina’s Fair Trade Sea of Cortez Pearl Jewelry Collection

New York City. Jan. 14, 2020. Sustainable-jewelry designer Ana Katarina first saw Sea of Cortez pearls, the product of a rainbow-lipped mollusk dubbed Pteria sterna that is found along the Pacific coastline, in 2016 at Columbia Gem House, a purveyor of 100 percent Fair Trade gems and jewelry. On a visit to Tucson, Ariz., for the trade-only AGTA GemFair, GJX show, and others, Katarina was on the hunt for ethically sourced materials she’d never before worked with and fell for the exotic color and luster of the silver-tone pearls with rainbow-color iridescence.

“Farms can say they are sustainable, but as an ex-journalist I like to do a lot of digging to determine for myself that something is sustainable,” she explains in a phone interview.

Sea of Cortez pearls grow at the Sea of Cortez farm in Guaymas, Sonora, México, which began as a university research program in 1993, according to online educational platform Pearls As One. Katarina learned that conservation efforts were hugely important to the farm since beautiful pearls only grow in pristine aquatic environments.

Columbia Gem House defines Fair Trade Gems as those that were “tracked from mine to market” and “handled according to strict protocols” including “environmental protection, fair labor practices, and a tight chain of custody that eliminates the possibility of treated gems or synthetics being introduced into the supply chain.” Satisfied that the farm was producing Fair Trade gems, Katarina designed the Sea of Love pearl jewelry collection.

While the name is a nod to the mid-80s hit by the Honeydrippers, the jewels have a sensual flow about them. Designs exhibit a balance of “positive and negative space,” and certain ones have an Art Deco-esque flair. All celebrate the “vibrancy of the sustainable ecosystem” in which Sea of Cortez pearls originate, explains Katarina. “I’m fascinated by the unique shapes of each pearl and the tonal qualities of the purple, green, and gray hues. Each piece is so unique because of the luster.”

Pieces are made in 18k yellow and white gold, some with diamonds and tsavorite garnets. Retail prices start at $3,600.

Sea of Love ring in 18k recycled yellow gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls, $3,605; available online at Ana Katarina

Sea of Love ring in 18k recycled yellow gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls, $3,605; available online at Ana Katarina

I Put a Spell on You earrings in in 18k recycled white gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls and 1.15 cts. t.w. Fair Trade diamonds, $9,980; available online at Ana Katarina

I Put a Spell on You earrings in in 18k recycled white gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls and 1.15 cts. t.w. Fair Trade diamonds, $9,980; available online at Ana Katarina

I Put a Spell on You necklace in in 18k recycled white gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls and 1.42 cts. t.w. F-color, VS-clarity, Fair Trade diamonds, $10,840; available online at Ana Katarina

I Put a Spell on You necklace in in 18k recycled white gold with Fair Trade Sea of Cortez pearls and 1.42 cts. t.w. F-color, VS-clarity, Fair Trade diamonds, $10,840; available online at Ana Katarina


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Inspirations

Pearl Jewelry À La Mod

New York City.  Jan. 13, 2020. Fashion runways are still popping with graphic presentations of grandma’s old flame—the pearl. Its modern jewelry makeover continues in 2020.

Kanzashi Stick earrings in 14k gold with freshwater pearls and 0.12 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,490; Mizuki, 212-941-0332, mizukijewels.com

Medium Kanzashi Stick earrings in 14k gold with freshwater pearls and 0.12 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,490; available online at Mizuki

Kirsten cuff in oxidized silver and 24k gold with three white 13 mm freshwater pearls and 0.09 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,890; Lika Behar, 201-933-7200, likabehar.com

Kirsten cuff in oxidized silver and 24k gold with three white 13 mm freshwater pearls and 0.09 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,080; Lika Behar at Walters & Hogsett online

Couture Beveled Half Moon earrings in 18k white gold with 10 mm Tahitian pearls and 0.72 ct. t.w. diamonds, $9,300; email yael@yaelsonia.com.br for purchase

Couture Beveled Half Moon earrings in 18k white gold with 10 mm Tahitian pearls and 0.72 ct. t.w. diamonds, $9,300; by Yael Sonia, email yael@yaelsonia.com.br for purchase

Ring in 18k yellow gold with a 12.32 mm golden South Sea pearl and 13.38 ct. rutilated quartz, $9,800; by Assael, email emoffitt@assael.com for purchase

Ring in 18k yellow gold with a 12.32 mm golden South Sea pearl and 13.38 ct. rutilated quartz, $9,800; by Assael, email emoffitt@assael.com for purchase

Nacre necklace with mother-of-pearl and sanded and graduated-in-size white South Sea pearls with an 18k white gold clasp, £21,500; by Melanie Georgacopoulos, email info@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com for purchase

Nacre necklace with mother-of-pearl and sanded and graduated-in-size white South Sea pearls with an 18k white gold clasp, £21,500; by Melanie Georgacopoulos, email info@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com for purchase


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Inspirations

Alex Sepkus’ Big Sleep Face Jewelry is Surreal Creepy Coolness

New York City. Jan. 9, 2020. It was a book and a dream that paved the way for Alex Sepkus’ Big Sleep Face collection. The creative force behind the 28-year-old design house was reading a book by Raymond Chandler, an American novelist and the originator of the hard-boiled style of detective fiction, at bedtime one evening when sleep delivered him a dream of Picasso-esque faces with oversize eyes. The sight was so jarring that it woke him, and he quickly sketched the visions.

The result? Six versions of surreal-looking faces fashioned into gold and palladium beads in his line. The originals were carved in wax for an organic vibe to match the fantastical faces of his dreams. Sepkus fans can now wear the artist’s creepy cool visions as all manner of jewelry, and additional styles continue to be added due to demand. Retail prices start at $800 for earrings.

The faces have sold so well (“It’s grown on people,” observes a Sepkus staffer) that the designer added two more detailed faces that are now part of a Till We Have Faces grouping.

Retailers headed to the Select Jewelry Show in Tucson, Feb. 2–3 at the Westin la Paloma Resort, and JCK Tucson at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Feb. 5–8, can see the new pieces in person.

Big Sleep Face studs in 18k rose gold, $800; Alex Sepkus at Style by Max

Big Sleep Face studs in 18k rose gold, $800; Alex Sepkus at Style by Max

Till We Have Faces pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with sapphire accents, $1,050 (does not include chain); Alex Sepkus at Passion Fine Jewelry

Till We Have Faces pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with diamond and sapphire accents, $1,050 (does not include chain); Alex Sepkus at Passion Fine Jewelry

Big Sleep Face ring in 18k yellow gold with 0.02 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,518; Alex Sepkus at Donald Hack

Big Sleep Face ring in 18k yellow gold with 0.02 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,518; Alex Sepkus at Donald Haack

Big Sleep Face necklace in 18k yellow and rose gold with lapis beads, $2,280; Alex Sepkus at the Renee Taylor Gallery


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