Pearls, three price points: Sarah and Duchesse's picks

The time changes this weekend. Daylight wanes by 5 p.m.: a woman can feel a little blue. You need a lift. Anita heads for hot chocolate, Jane says another rerun of "Love, Actually" is always smart; Dr. H. knits wildly-striped socks. I say, pearls—they stay luminous no matter how sere the landscape, and feel gently warm against your skin.

But which pearls? Most of us have a budget, and tastes vary, but when it's gusty and grey you will be happy you invested in genuine pearls, no matter the price point. I asked my gracious mentor Sarah Canizzaro, owner of Kojima Company (and just back from a pearl-heaven trip to Asia), to help me dress the windows today.

Splurge: $1400-$1600 
For milestone celebrations, the heart-stopper you adore the moment you see it—or perhaps because this is the price point where you hang out. (And you can spend way, way more... but that's another post.)

Left: My pick is this Tahitian keshi pearl necklace; price, $1, 530. A magnificent array of natural-colour keshis and a scintillating 13mm sky-blue Tahitian pendant, on 14k gold chain. The colour of these pearls blew me away. Sarah says, "It takes me quite a time to come up with enough fancy colour Tahitian keshis to put these necklaces together... the colours of these particular ones represent the ends of the rainbow that is 'black' pearls."

Right: Italian coral necklace with Tahitian pearl pendant; price, $1, 395. Sarah's pick: natural-colour Italian coral, a 13.6mm silvery-blue Tahitian drop, and a rich, very cool 22k bead cap on the Tahitian! She says, "Looks fantastic peeking out from under a blouse, layered with other gold chains, and can be worn in any season. A very 'warming' piece."

One of a kind and perfect necklace for the woman who adores colour.

Treat: $400-$600
For a gift to yourself, or perhaps a discreet hint to someone who wonders, What in the world would she like? At this price point, you can have your pick of many unusual pearls and even luxury varieties, if you buy them as earrings.

Left: I chose the Doublet pearl necklace; price, $405, drawn to how the pearls make an informal, graceful piece. And look at the lustre! Sarah comments that these unusual pearls are (from the farmer's point of view) 'mistakes' in culturing that yield two attached pearls, and allow this layered, slightly chunky design. The size of each doublet ranges from 16mm to 20mm; the necklace is adjustable from 17 to 20 inches.

Right: Tiny Tahitian and diamond stud earrings; price, $603. At 8.4mm, these are tiny only for Tahitians. Set in 14k, the pearls have silver/peacock overtones. Sarah: "Easy to wear in a corporate setting; the tiny diamonds make them unique. They don't blend in with the crowd."

I agree: Eminently versatile with that touch of stealth luxe.

Who can resist? About $100 or less
When so many pieces can be bought for the (over)price of much "fashion" jewellery, why not wear a genuine pearl? I get excited when scouting at this price point, because so many think pearls equal a serious spend, and I enjoy showing the possibilities.

But this is also the price point of a zillion shoddy (and lying) vendors, so don't expect to find these pearls on certain Asian vendors' eBay sites. Kojima Company deliver very appealing pearls that are exactly as represented.

Sarah suggests the stick pearl flower cluster brooch; price, $108. White, pale pink, pale peach and lavender stick pearls hand-made into a lustrous zinna-esque bloom, just over 2 inches in diameter.

The charming brooch comes with a story. Sarah told me, "These are handmade by a woman in Hong Kong whom I have known for decades. We don't speak the same language but we share so much love. Her daughters taught me that in her village as a young woman, she was famous for the beauty of the flowers she stitched. She married a pearl dealer and these brooches are the evolution of her creative gifts."

I chose the mystical champagne pearl ring; price; $90. That's one generous Chinese baroque pearl (13.8mm) that you're toasting with!  Five-millimetre sterling band. Sarah said, "It will pull your eye in and work with any skin tone."

Both of these pieces are real-for-a-steal and would also make superb gifts.

While nutty socks and the cocoa and the heart-tugging movie are useful strategies, we also need beauty, when the natural world (at least where I live) slumbers for months. Pearls beneath our bare branches, pearls under wooly caps, pearls when you can see your breath!


Jane said…
I love the story behind the flower brooch. I would choose the blue-grey Tahitian and diamond drop pendant from the Kojima web site, $360! Why would anyone buy jewelry from a big box store when you can have a piece that is real, has a story or is one of a kind?

I just read that November is the cloudiest month of the year. For people with mood disorders they often get worse about now. Hang in there Northerners!
Jean Shaw said…
I love her work. Period.
I love Kojima pearls, and their site is an enchanting place to spend a few minutes (or more!) dreaming. Thanks for sharing these beauties!
fmcgmccllc said…
My birthday is the 5th and if he doesn't I will. The bad part is I picked 3 and really can't go that crazy. Will let you know how this works out.
LauraH said…
Lovely mood lifter on a grey, damp day. That coral is so pretty...I do love colour. A big thanks to you and Sarah for taking the time.
Champycorn said…
I love Kojima pearls! Thanks to this wonderful post.
Maggie said…
Oh Duchesse, you are such a bad influence! Would love a recommendation on a fun, funky pearl bracelet.
Duchesse said…
Maggie Hiser:
Fun and funky:
And, this bangle (or several others like it):

I'd also be tempted to have them custom-make something, perhaps recycling beads or stones you have, and adding pearls.

fmcgmccllc: Would truly love to hear what you chose!
Maggie said…
Just ordered one of the bangles with 2 funky pearls. My name is Maggie and I have a pearl problem............
fmcgmccllc said…
Hubs gave me beautiful mauve roses and a really, really nice cashmere scarf. As he did well I added the mystical champagne pearl ring. Will let you know when I receive it, I am excited.
Duchesse said…
fmcg: Your husband gave a romantic gift. Ohh mauve roses! Hope you love the ring but if not, the return policy is excellent. Thank you for sharing your pick.

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