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how toTuesday, 24 August 2021

Five Pearl Jewellery Brands Speak About Pearl Sizing, History and More

We can all appreciate the beauty of pearls, but are you knowledgeable about pearl sizing? And, do you know your Japanese Akoya pearls from your Tahitian pearls? If the answer is no to either of these questions, we propose you continue reading.

 

Recently, we caught up with five pearl jewellery brands – including Yoko London, TASAKI and Annoushka – to find out all of the interesting facts surrounding the organic gem. Below, you can discover information about pearl sizing, responsible pearl farming, the history of pearls and more.

 

TASAKI

 

Tell us about your brand.

We are TASAKI, a fine jewellery brand founded in Japan that is committed to embracing the beauty of nature and sustainability. TASAKI jewellery predominantly uses Akoya pearls, a pearl that's a symbol of Japan. Akoya pearls have been desired for centuries because of their elegant lustre and delicate colours. 

 

What can you tell us about the type and size of pearls you use? 

Our selection process involves creatively matching each pearl to a specific design. Our Akoya pearls usually come in a standard size of 6-8mm, but we do use rarer sizes for occasion jewellery. These pearls are found in Japan in calm, inner bay waters of a temperature between 12-25℃. 


 

What can you tell us about your brand’s relationship with pearls?

As we all know, pearls are a natural gem that possess ineffable beauty. Our TASAKI pearl jewellery has captured the hearts of jewellery lovers worldwide ever since 1954. 

 

Since our inception, we’ve facilitated the creation of beautiful pearls – operating pearl farms in the seas of Kujukushima at Nagasaki and Ise-Shima at Mie. Now, we are the only brand in Japan that is still committed to pearl farming. 

 

Why is pearl jewellery a great investment?

Jewellery is art that you can wear: a celebration of the beauty that reveals one’s undiscovered glow. TASAKI, in its continuous pursuit of inventing newfangled aesthetics, regularly invites world-renowned designers to create new and modern pearl and diamond collections with us. Often, these collaborations result in unconventional pieces that merge cutting-edge ideas with traditional craftsmanship to create constant evolution. We believe that everyone should invest in this innovation. 

 

What can you tell us about the sustainability factor of pearl jewellery?

All of our procedures – from the farming, selecting and processing of pearls to the creation of innovative designs – are completed by us to ensure each piece is ethically made and of the utmost quality. We hope that the fascinating brilliance of pearls that reflect nature's infinite beauty leads to customers regularly wearing our jewellery instead of purchasing unsustainable jewellery pieces from elsewhere. 

 

Yoko London

 

Tell us about your brand.

We, Yoko London, are pearl specialists who use a wide range of pearls within our jewellery, including Australian South Sea pearls, Golden South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls, Japanese Akoya pearls and freshwater pearls. 

 

The best advice we can give our customers is to choose the pearl that matches the personality of the lucky person they’re buying the pearl for – especially if that person is them. And our second top tip would be to never compromise on a pearl’s lustre (AKA the pearl’s shine). A pearl with a good lustre looks as if it’s lit from within; a pearl with a poor lustre appears chalky. Naturally, we only select pearls with an exceptional lustre here at Yoko London. 

 

What can you tell us about the type and size of pearls you use? 

We only use high-quality pearls here at Yoko London – we select them according to the type of collection we’re developing. For example, when working on our contemporary, everyday pieces, we opt for freshwater and Japanese Akoya pearls which are available in smaller sizes. When we work on evening pieces – such as those found in our Starlight and Mayfair collections – we use South Sea pearls that are available in larger sizes. 

 

Let us go into detail about the size of the pearls we use. 

  • Australian South Sea pearls are readily available in 9-16mm sizes, and 17m+ sizes are scarcer. 

  • Japanese Akoya pearls are readily available in 3-8mm sizes, and 9mm sizes are scarcer.

  • Golden South Sea pearls are readily available in 8-14mm sizes, and 14mm+ sizes are scarcer.

  • Tahitian pearls are readily available in 8-15mm sizes, and 15-17mm sizes are scarcer.

  • Freshwater pearls are readily available in 2-12mm sizes, and 13-16mm sizes are scarcer. 

 

What can you tell us about your brand’s relationship with pearls?

Founded by the Hakimian family in 1973, Yoko London has lived and breathed pearls for over 48 years. The brand works closely with various pearl farms across the globe, allowing the team to painstakingly source the finest and most unusual pearls on the market. 

 

Jewellery designs are created in our London workshop by highly skilled craftsmen; these designs can take months to come to fruition as we’re dedicated to perfectly matching every pearl to a piece of jewellery. With each design, the team strives to complement the individual beauty of the pearl they’re using in a way that’s both stylish and innovative. 

 

Why is pearl jewellery a great investment?

Pearls have an enduring appeal and elegance that’s desired by generation after generation. Simply put, pearls are a great investment piece because they never go out of style!

 

What can you tell us about the history of pearl jewellery?

Wearing pearls as jewellery is a centuries-old tradition. Pearls were one of the first gemstones to be worn by humans as they were accessible and required no work once they were found. 

 

Pearls are prized for their individuality and have always been associated with powerful women throughout history. It is said that Cleopatra dissolved one of her pearl earrings in wine and then drank it to display her power and wealth to Roman politician Mark Anthony. 

 

Today, we’re proud to have seen our pearls worn by some of the world’s most famous and powerful women, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. 

 

What can you tell us about the sustainability factor of pearl jewellery?

Our pearl farming system is one of the most sustainable in the jewellery industry. We predominantly focus on hatchery breeding programmes that carefully facilitate the reproduction of hundreds of thousands of hatchery oysters. As a result, pearl farms actively conserve and, in some cases, completely restore biodiversity and the ecosystem in the surrounding waters.

 

Despite our efforts, we recognise that sustainability and social responsibility is a journey, and we are committed to continually reviewing and improving our practices wherever possible.

 

AUTORE 

 

Tell us about your brand.

Here at Autore, we use the rarest and most coveted type of pearls – South Sea pearls. All of the white and gold South Sea pearls we use in our jewellery are sourced from the Autore Group Pearl Farms. We also use a small number of Tahitian pearls which we source from our partners in Tahiti. 

 

What can you tell us about the type and size of pearls you use? 

As we harvest our own pearls – around 350,000 a year – we have access to all shapes and sizes. We primarily use South Sea Pearls that are 8-20mm in size – the size we choose simply depends on the design of the jewellery piece. For example, we use pearls starting from around 8mm in our Autore Moda jewellery collection and pearls up to 20mm in our Autore Fine Jewellery Collection.

 

What can you tell us about your brand’s relationship with pearls?

South Sea pearls are key to The Autore Group – we control the whole production process meaning that the pearls never leave our hands. 

 

Why is pearl jewellery a great investment?

Every pearl is unique; the beauty of a pearl lies within its unique qualities. Our South Sea jewellery pieces can be passed down from generation to generation because they’re timeless and are easy to appreciate.

 

What can you tell us about the history of pearl jewellery?

For over 4,000 years, pearls have been a coveted gem possessed by royals, tsars and emperors. Pearls have always been seen as a symbol of purity, wealth and love, and many legends have been written about the organic gem. 

 

In recent history, pearls have been worn by Coco Chanel, Princess Diana and Jacqueline Kennedy; and today, iconic figures such as Rihanna, A$AP Rocky and Harry Styles regularly sport pearl jewellery. 

 

What can you tell us about the sustainability factor of pearl jewellery?

South Sea pearls are sustainable gems as all elements are utilised after harvest, including the pearl meat, the mother of pearl shell, and the pearl itself. The Autore Group prioritises sustainability and implements various practices to ensure the longevity of the Pinctada maxima shell, including MSC Sustainable Certification in regards to responsible and quota, managed fishing practices of the wild South Sea pearl shell. 

 

The Autore Group also has a strong focus on hatchery-grown Pinctada maxima shells to minimise the necessity of using our wild fishing quota. One of the major benefits of using hatchery-produced oysters is that it increases the number of wild oysters in the world as the oysters are likely to spawn in the ocean. 

 

The Autore Group farms are located in remote, beautiful locations where the water is pristine. The oceans where the farms are located restrict commercial fishing which protects local marine life. Within these areas, we’ve continuously invested in resources that help rebuild damaged reefs. Additionally, the farming infrastructure we use in the ocean provides substrates for marine life to grow and thrive. 

 

MIZUKI

 

Tell us about your brand.

At MIZUKI, we love incorporating natural materials into our designs. And although working with pearls comes with many challenges, we just love the way that organic gems tell a story. For this reason, we use all kinds of pearls in our collection, including Akoya pearls and Tahitian pearls. 

 

What can you tell us about the type and size of pearls you use? 

Our popular Sea of Beauty collection incorporates three types of pearls – Tahitian pearls, Akoya pearls and freshwater pearls. Each possesses unique characteristics. 

 

Freshwater pearls are available in many shapes and sizes. Dancing pearls are our current favourite – they’re irregular shaped baby freshwater pearls that are whimsical and playful. They’re perfect for creating contemporary jewellery. We love working with Baroque freshwater pearls because their complex, fluid aesthetic is so organic. The freshwater pearls we work with range from 10mm to 30mm in size.

 

We have two favourite types of saltwater pearls, the first being Akoya pearls. The size of Akoya pearls we use ranges from 2mm to 11mm. Some of our favourite pieces we create using Akoya pearls are our floating pearl chains and safety pin earrings.

 

Our second favourite type of saltwater pearl is Tahitian pearls. The black and grey colour of Tahitian pearls is simply exceptional – it’s hard to believe it’s natural! The Tahitian pearls we use are usually around 10mm in size. 

 

What can you tell us about your brand’s relationship with pearls?

Pearls remind us of what it means to be a woman. The female body is one of the most beautiful things on Earth – its raw, original beauty will always inspire creative minds. 

 

Pearls are natural products made by a living organism. To take a pearl and transform it into something beautiful that lies upon a woman’s body is an honour. Our love of style, sensuality and individuality is what helps us create our Sea of Beauty Collection that’s made up of modern, sexy jewellery. 

 

Why is pearl jewellery a great investment?

In our minds, pearls are the queen of gems, and they will forever be in demand because there’s nothing quite like them. No matter how perfect or imperfect a pearl is, it’s easy to appreciate its beauty.

 

What can you tell us about the history of pearl jewellery? 

We can tell you that the most important story in history regarding pearls is the one about the banquet of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Roman politician Mark Anthony. 

 

What can you tell us about the sustainability factor of pearl jewellery? 

Pearls are a precious, eco-friendly material, but the future of pearls is uncertain. To produce high-quality pearls, the water of the pearl farm needs to be clean, but thanks to the rising rates of pollution and global warming, the water isn’t quite as pure as it once was. 

 

ANNOUSHKA

 

Tell us about your brand.

The Annoushka team loves pearls, which is why we use a mixture of freshwater, South Sea and Golden pearls in our collections. Every pearl has a different quality and therefore brings something unique to our designs. For our Golden Pearls collection, we’ve designed around the pearl, putting pearls at the forefront of design. 

 

What can you tell us about the type and size of pearls you use? 

The size of the pearl we choose to use in a jewellery piece depends on the design. Classic designs, like our Baroque Pearl Hook Drop Earrings, require more archetypal pearls whereas contemporary designs allow us to work with more unusual pearls. 

 

Many brands get caught up trying to find perfectly matching sets of pearls, but we find beauty in using less celebrated shapes, colours and sizes. We believe that we should celebrate individuality. 

 

What can you tell us about your brand’s relationship with pearls?

Typically, pearl farmers receive little in return for their labour and hard-won skills. Pearls are usually sold at auction, a system that excludes the farmers from their final sale, meaning that they receive just a fraction of the proceeds. To combat this unfair system, we work directly with the farmers which means they receive more money for their produce. This process is incredibly important to us as our designer has been to the pearl farms herself and witnessed the labour-intensive process that goes into producing these beautiful pearls. 

 

Why is pearl jewellery a great investment?

In the past two years, pearl jewellery has been trending; thus, there’s been more demand for our pearl pieces. We’re happy to see a greater focus on unusual pearls as these are the type of pearls that have been greatly underappreciated in the past. 

 

Much like diamonds, pearls are forever – their beauty is something to be treasured. We’re always looking for new and exciting ways to work with pearls, and we hope we can continue our work for years to come. 

 

What can you tell us about the history of pearl jewellery?

In recent history, pearls have been worn by powerful women such as Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge and Kamala Harris. The fact these women have impacted society so greatly whilst wearing pearls means that they will be desirable for decades to come.

 

What can you tell us about the sustainability factor of pearl jewellery?

It's exciting to see young people embracing pearl jewellery; however, I think it's incredibly important that designers are precious about the way they treat pearls and don’t allow them to become acclaimed by mainstream trends. We produce jewellery on a super small scale using solid gold and sustainably farmed pearls, and we hope that our customers pass these pieces down to the next generation. 

 

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