Recently, Zoe from California inquired about Eve’s expertise on pearls and jewelry design. Highly interested in buying pearls, Zoe was seeking advice on the pearl necklace she would like to buy.
Q: I am learning to be able to see the differences in luster and have decided on what I would like to buy. I would like a 24″ white Tahitian pearl necklace, with excellent luster, not graduated but a strand with a 1mm range in pearl size difference, either 12mm, 13mm or 14mm, understanding that the first sacrifice in terms of pricing would be that the pearl would not be perfectly round. Can you comment on my “condition?”
A: Hello Zoe, Thank you for contacting me. I would be more than happy to help you out. I imagine you are looking for pearls of natural color, not dyed. When you talk about 12, 13 or 14 mm pearls, you have two possibilities: If they are white or golden, they would have to be South Seas pearls, from Australia or Indonesia most likely, or the Philippines, especially for gold. If they are colors from light silver all the way to dark grey/black then they are Tahitian (but could be from Fiji or some other Pacific Island).
You show very good sense in looking for excellent luster: that is what a good pearl has to offer, and it makes a huge difference. It is not a problem to find strands that are mostly uniform rather than graduated; you just have to expect to pay more.
Fine lustrous white South Seas pearls are usually slightly grey, or at least a cool white. People who are used to the rose or iridescent overtones of the small Japanese Akoya cultured pearls their mothers had are sometimes disappointed. It is possible, once in a great while to find South Seas pearls that exhibit the delicate rose secondary color along with top luster, but they can be very expensive.
I happened to love pearls that are not round: they are baroque, and look like great gobs of whipped cream. Those can be quite expensive if they all match in general shape. By now the growers are so good at producing pearls that are round that now it is not common to see those very irregular white pearls, and of course, people want what they cannot have!
Q: In regards to pearls and other types of beads and gemstones, is there a unique way of how to make them special, exciting and versatile?
A: Yes, absolutely! I would suggest using one of my beautiful clasps to transform any strand into wearable art.
If you visit my website, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, you can see a few examples of specially created clasps that I make, which would be extra cost and which you can think about later, once the pearls are obtained. The nice thing about investing in a remarkable clasp is first that you can wear it in front or on the side as a beautiful complement to the pearls, but also, because it might be about 1 or 2 inches long, we will be able to remove 2 or 4 pearls from the end strand, use them to create earrings and detachable drops, and still keep the necklace at a good length. This way you do not have to buy extra pearls, and you already know they will match. We do this all the time, and it really works well.