A New Year in pearls, modern and vintage

The Passage traditionally re-opens with a post on pearls—like a glass of champagne, a predictably fizzy pleasure.

Readers have sent links to pearl exhibits and jewelers, which is a real treat! Reader Meg from Australia introduced me to Australian jeweler Jan Logan, who uses South Sea and freshwater pearls. Her designs are on the classic side, but not stiff. (I have converted $AUS to $US at time of writing.) 

Four-pearl earrings set in 9k yellow gold; price, $266:

Pearls scattered among smoky and rutilated quartz beads, linked with silver make a piquant 95cm/37-inch rope; price, $285:

Her chic bola of hematite and smoky quartz tipped with two deep, glowy Tahitians frames those luxurious pearls and keeps the price a relatively reasonable $778:

Modern pearls are not an oxymoron. Young designers are drawn to them because while pearls add allure, they also integrate well with pieces you already own.

These earrings, by Aesa (the company of the New York-based designer Randi Mates) use brass and half-pearls, which in the hands of a very talented designer result in Curving Pearl earrings; price, $235:

Aesa's Rivulets pearl pendant presents seven 3mm pearls set in brass on a 24-inch silver chain. Layered or on its own, a current, quiet beauty; price, $310.

Vintage pearl pieces are among my very favourites because of the workmanship and value. (Pearls hold up very well unless you're mean to them.) 

Slip on this  ca. 1980s pearl and turquoise ring, and immediately winter lifts; very Italian-chic! From Beladora; price, $495:

Many pieces in the Passage's windows today might inspire you to update pearls you're not wearing, using a design you see here as inspiration. But sometimes, the piece of your dreams has already been made— so the smart thing is to take the leap, and wear the daylights out of it.


LauraH said…
Welcome back!

Another spot-on post as I've been thinking for a while of combining my too-small pearls with other stones in some way. The necklace you show is a great inspiration, the idea would work for a bracelet as well.

Thank you for all your lovely posts, I've learned so much from you and your community of readers. Your work is appreciated.

Happy New Year.
une femme said…
Welcome back, Duchesse! Once again you've found some unique and gorgeous pieces. I'd wear that lariat necklace in a heartbeat.
Gretchen said…
So glad you're back from your (hopefully delightful) break! It's more like Montreal than Annapolis outside today, with snow falling and temperatures following right behind. Yesterday, I took your advice and wore 3 strands of pearls, a la Chanel, as the beautiful, but small, strand I inherited with my mother's passing after Thanksgiving looked too sad and wan. I am sure she (both Coco and my mom) would have approved!
I quite like the rivulet necklace and can see it on a younger woman. Pearls can be worn in so many different ways...and I like them paired with diamonds.
Welcome back!
Madame Là-bas said…
Welcome back. I would definitely choose the bola as I love the Tahitian pearls.
LPC said…
Just beautiful. My favorite? The bola!
Duchesse said…
LauraH: A reader sent me an e-mail to say she had restrung her small pearls with emerald beads... perhaps she will show us.

Pseu. Mme.L-b and LPC: Maybe you could time-share!

hostess: That pendant may well suit any age as it has enough presence, unlike very dainty pearl pendants, but I would like to try it on to confirm my guess ;)

Gretchen: It is wonderful that you are wearing her pearls. (I well understand anyone who does not want touch a strand that has such deep sentiment, so layering is then the way to go.)

It may be chilly for Annapolis but I doubt you are walking on 2 inches of glare ice as we are here. Some sidewalks have grit or salt on them but it's still absolutely treacherous underfoot.

Jean S said…
I love the necklace with mixed stones....

A question for you: I have smallish pearl studs given to me 30 years ago by the husband. What to do? (I need a young niece to pass them along to, but lo, they're all getting older, too...)
Best wishes for 2015. I can't get enough pearls, but if I'd have to choose one from your lovely collection, it would be the bola or lariat designs.
Duchesse said…
Jean S: The first factor is the condition of the pearls- clean in warm soapy water and dry with a soft cloth. Do they glow or do they look dull? If dull, give to a charity shop and time for a new pair! (Also, school theatre depts are often happy to receive such items.)

I imagine they are 5-6mm which is small but, if they are in good shape, excellent reno material. See this page for ideas:

Another idea: two-pearl earrings, like this:

In that case you would buy two new pearls, for example, these pink buttons, to place below your small whites:

If your earrings are in good shape but you don't want to reno, then do pass them on, if not to a niece, to some other wonderful young woman.

That pear and quartz necklace is very pretty. The pearl and turquoise ring is really eye-catching, too.

You show such beautiful pearls here on your post. I love seeing them.
Jean S said…
They're in great shape, so I will do a renovation at some point. Thanks for the ideas.
Anonymous said…
So glad you enjoyed the link Duchesse! Welcome back and thanks for another great post.
Warm regards

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