Pearls Come in Many Fabulous Shapes and Colours
After discovering some very unusual facts about the pearl engagement ring phenomena, I persuaded L (which was a fairly easy task) to visit one of our designers who has a particular interest in pearl rings.
One look at her exquisitely exotic pearl creations let us knowthat she was not only an expert on the gem, but had a beautiful affinity for the stone’s potential.
A Briefcase Full of Pearls
Our designer friend began by showing us the variety of pearls she works with. I was expecting her to bring out one or two shiny white, marble-sized gems and was consequently speechless when she presented us with a very large, velvet-lined briefcase that displayed row after row of dazzling, iridescent pearls in every colour imaginable!
I could tell that L was as impressed as I was and we were both beginning to really entertain the idea of a pearl engagement ring.
Our designer explained that the most valuable pearl is, of course, the round pearl, which can even be considered of gem quality. But unlike what films and television try to make you think, these are relatively rare, and never as large as what you might see topping a pearl engagement ring in a romantic comedy.
She indicated that this stereotype, and society’s general lack of knowledge regarding pearls, was what probably fuelled the success of many of the scams couples can fall victim to when looking for a pearl engagement ring.
Much to L’s delight we discovered that more often than not, pearls are slightly irregular, and there are a number of relatively common shapes, all with their own distinctive name. This is why pearls are an excellent option for a more natural, alternative looking ring that really stands out from the crowd.
L loved the fact that they were something unique and offbeat in a field that can often be a little repetitive. Sometimes, the imperfection is only apparent to the trained eye, such as with so called ‘off-round’ pearls. In other cases, however, the irregularity is evident, such as with baroque, button or Keishi pearls.
‘Keishi’ refers to the rare instances when the mollusc rejects its nucleus, leading to the formation of a ‘free form’ pearl. Personally, I found these particular pearls quite fascinating and felt that their imperfections only enhanced their beauty. However, our designer did mention that, due to their unusual shape, they can sometimes be difficult to set on a pearl engagement ring.
An alternative would be Button pearls, which are usually flat on one side and round on the other, similar to actual buttons, and due to their more symmetrical shape are easier to place in a variety of settings.
A Broad Range of Colours
Shape is not, however, the only factor setting pearls apart from one another. Again, contrary to popular belief, these semi-precious stones can come in a variety of colours other than the typical, snowy-white. There were a startling number of different colours shown to us and our designer said that each different shade is typically due to the environment they were created in.
The mollusc’s diet, the water temperature and the region of the world all influence the pearl’s look.
The final result can never be 100% predicted, after all: this is Mother Nature we are dealing with here! However, Mother Nature does an excellent job in this regards delivering stunning deep black pearls, delicate pink and lavender ones, warm golden-hued ones and even pearls that seem to capture the rainbow when turned in the light. It was mesmerising.
An Ode to Elegance
Our afternoon with our designer friend was very enlightening. Not only did she introduce us to the much bigger world of pearls, she shared their exquisitely unique versatility with us through examples of her amazing collection of bespoke designs that celebrate the elegant beauty of the pearl engagement ring.