Pearls Make the Rounds for Fall

Karl Lagerfeld may have swapped Chanel’s traditional pearls for jade this season, but the lustrous gem showed up on plenty of other runways. Pearls were outsized at Moschino Cheap & Chic, strung onto ribbon at 3.1 Phillip Lim, and embroidered and buried in tulle at Comme des Garçons. Hidden treasures also popped up at Givenchy, where Riccardo Tisci hung strands of fabric-encased beads from draped tops, and at Sinha-Stanic, where twinkly buttons were applied to rock-chick dresses after the style of the Cockney Pearlies.


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Pearl Passion

by SANDRA LOW

WHEN it comes to pearls, few know these luminous, fascinating organic gems better than Rene Hodel.

The Swiss CEO and founder of a luxury pearl brand, Hodel HK Ltd, has spent almost three decades in the industry, first as a wholesaler before expanding his business to designing collections that bear his name.

Hodel, 54, was in Kuala Lumpur recently with his Hong Kong-born wife, Linda, 48, who supervises their design team, to launch the brand’s Spring-Summer 2008 collection.

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You Go, Pearl!

If you thought that conspicuous consumption was a recent phenomenon, consider ancient Rome, where Julius Caesar had to enact sumptuary laws to limit who could wear pearls and how. Grimly noting the furor that had seized Roman ladies, Seneca, the Stoic, commented: “Simply one for each ear? No! The crazy fools seem to think that their husbands are not sufficiently tormented unless they wear the value of an inheritance in each ear.”

Of course, women — and an Indian maharajah or two — would go on to do a lot more with pearls than bedizen their ears. At the height of the pearl’s importance in Elizabethan England, the queen thought nothing of scattering hundreds over everything she wore, including her hair.

These silken spheres were still going strong circa 1900, when Paulding Farnham created extravagant necklaces out of fresh and saltwater pearls for Tiffany & Company. They were so prized, the story goes, that in 1916 Cartier traded a double strand for the Fifth Avenue Beaux Arts mansion that still houses its New York store. But that was then. The advent of the perfectly lustrous, round cultured pearl made the once-precious orbs lose much of their luster, and by the 1950s they seemed absolutely priggish. Grace Kelly’s 1953 wedding ensemble, all trimmed with pearls, was stunning, but after that, pearls slipped into matronly rectitude, clutching the throats of public figures like Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Read entire "You Go! Girl" article & see photos here.

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A Day in New York Jewelry District

3 P.M. Tucked into Booth 55 in a showroom at 36 West 47th Street is A. Friedman Trading, (212) 719-1288, where the proprietors, Alex and Evelyn Friedman, specialize in pearls. Arrayed in tiny glass cases, the pearls range from poppy seed-size to lumpy marbles. There are classic white and pale pink pearls from Chinese waters, and black, opalescent gray and shimmery chocolate brown ones from the Tahitian sea. The pearls are sold only to the trade, but a chat with Mr. Friedman, a Holocaust survivor, is worth the stop. With gentle prompting, he will tell you about his escape to the United Kingdom via the Kindertransport, the rescue mission that saved Jewish children during World War II.

4 P.M. Eugene Shulimovich is a fourth-generation Ukrainian hand engraver, one of the few left in the area as machines and digital engraving have spread. In the cramped Booth 24 at 4 West 47th Street, (212) 575-5607, he hand-carves scrollwork letters, swirling flowers and ornate geometric patterns on signet rings (around $350), rifle barrels ($3,000 to $4,000) and wedding bands (prices vary).

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Little, Round & Beautiful Pearls

by Hana Kusumoto & Teri Weaver

So, let’s face it. We can’t all be Carrie Bradshaw, lying about in our pajamas playing with a tummy-tickling string of Mikimoto pearls, waiting for the man next to us to propose.

In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto figured out how to coax pearls out of akoya oysters. His mollusks proved so prolific that he opened Mikimoto Pearl Store in 1899, and the company has been selling lustrous strands of pearls around the world ever since, according to Aiko Shinobu, a spokeswoman for the company.

Thanks in part to Mikimoto, Japan has become known for the akoya, a white pearl famous for its pinkish tint and luster. That can be good news for a more discerning jewelry shopper who wants to invest in a small piece of Japanese jewelry.


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Pearls--A Timeless Treasure

by SANDRA LOW
(The Star--Online)

When my editor suggested that I find an owner of a Mikimoto pearl necklace who has hung on to her precious possession for many years, I was curious to see who I could come up with.

When I contacted Mikimoto Kuala Lumpur, the store immediately put me on to the sprightly 83-year-old Stella Wong. She has been a regular visitor to the store to have her pearl necklaces re-strung and to make sure her gems were in tip- top condition.

Wong received three Mikimoto necklaces as a wedding gift from her parents 58 years ago and has not bought any new pieces to add on to her collection.

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For views and pearls, cruise to the South Pacific

by Maureen Jones
(All Horizons Travel)

On the little island, Taha’a, we visited a vanilla bean farm where many purchased bags of beans at a reasonable price. The island also had a black pearl farm, where they showed us how black pearls are cultivated in the lagoon and after two years opened and sold for various prices depending on their size and color.

The snorkeling and diving in French Polynesia is among the finest in the world, and the equipment was complimentary. You can get a PADI scuba dive certificate while on the cruise. Rangiroa in the Tuamotu islands is the most popular with visitors. It is the largest atoll in the world, with fantastic marine life in the lagoon.

At each island stop, a group of locals came aboard to play, sing and dance for the passengers on deck, and it was fascinating to see the differences in dances and island dress.

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Bore No More

by ERIC WILSON

For example, hanging from a black Orla Kiely dress at the front of the store is a necklace of gumball-size pearls so long that it hangs almost to the hem. Some stores, Ms. Erickson said, had asked for a more sensible length. “I am dead set that I wanted it made this way,” she said. Next she pointed to a pair of Bloch London checkerboard slippers that several buyers had pooh-poohed in the showroom, then asked to order after seeing them in the shop.

Beyond 7 hopes to give its customers a better idea of a designer’s vision. So there are two rails of printed jersey dresses from Issa and hand-dyed tailored jackets from Akiko Ogawa, a Japanese designer who is trying to break into the American market. Andy & Debb’s dresses and a cardigan printed with a black-and-white drawing of peacock feathers get big display as well.

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Punk Pearls

by Karla M. Martinez
(New York Times)

DON’T pearls deserve something better? Despite numerous attempts over the years to disentangle them from their good-girl image, they have resisted. Even Audrey Hepburn, recklessly tossing about that magnificent rope of pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, could not dislodge them from the altar of good taste.

But now a new crop of pearl necklaces undercuts all that refinement — and that’s all to the good. These are pearls with an edge, acquired through a juxtaposition with quirkier stuff. Punk meets Park Avenue.


Read entire article and see gritty pearl photos here.

So.....what do you think about this new look for pearls? Is it here to stay or a passing fad?

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Pearls, Accidents of Nature

About the pearls. What they are and how they are formed. Their use in jewelery.

A pearl is a hard and generally spherical object made up of calcium carbonate deposits that are collected within the soft tissues of living shelled mollusk. The shells of these mollusks are also made up of calcium carbonate. Pearls come from both freshwater and marine waters.

An ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth. The good quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. This is the reason the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very uncommon, very fine, very admirable and very valuable.

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