PEARL AND STONE GUIDE
Learn About The Pearls And Semi Precious Stones We UseFind Out More
Pearls are the oldest known gemstone; they do not need to be cut, faceted or polished to show their natural beauty. We love their very essence and adaptability and bring only the best pieces to our designs. We use only the finest cultured pearls. Grown in freshwater mussels for a minimum of two years, every pearl is chosen for its beautiful lustre, shape and size and used in designs that will best show off its innate beauty.
In 1893 Kokichi Mikimoto developed the first cultured pearl. There are different types of cultured pearl varieties each with their own characteristics, from varying lustre and shape to size and colour.
Akoya pearls are recognised for their stunning lustre and colour. Generally round in shape, the standard size is 6-8mm. Japan is a major producer of the Akoya pearl oyster from saltwater environments. Created by the multi-layered nacres, the Akoya pearl comes in a range of colours from white, silver, and cream with hints of pink and green.
As the name suggests, freshwater pearls are cultivated by mollusks that live in freshwater such as rivers, lakes and ponds. Our freshwater pearls are grown in South Eastern China. Freshwater pearls have a good nacre layer and can be found in a large variety of sizes and shapes including oval, tear drop, button and round etc. The size of freshwater pearls varies in size ranging from 2-10mm they also come in a range of different colours.
The largest of the cultured pearls, South Sea pearls generally range 8-16mm in size, however occasionally they can reach over 20mm. Cultivated in saltwater environments South Sea pearls are produced by farmers nucleating either a silver or gold lipped pearl oyster. This results in two different colour pearls, the silver lipped oyster produces stunning white, silver, grey toned pearls while the gold-lipped creates more of a golden pearl. The lustre on South Sea pearls is a distinguishing feature, a beautiful satin-like lustre, unlike the lustre of the other varieties.
To discover the difference between cultured and natural pearls read 'The Story of Cultured Pearls.'
The white and pink pearls Claudia uses in her designs are presented in their natural colour.
The colour of the peacock and silver pearls Claudia uses in her designs is achieved using a heat treatment that creates a chemical reaction in the pearl. This colour is permanent and will not fade. It is increasingly hard to find good quality dyed pearls. The demand for white pearls is such that the pearls selected for dyeing are predominantly of a lower grade. We only use coloured pearls that have a high quality lustre, shape and weight, so our coloured pearls are in limited supply.
There are three main categories of pearl shapes, which are based on their overall characteristics, those being:
Spherical - perfectly round or nearly round, the ‘classic’ pearl shape
Symmetrical – balances and regular in shape, so if you were to slice the pearl in half, each half would be a mirror image of the other half
Baroque – irregular or abstract, non-symmetrical in nature
|Baroque||Non-symmetrical and irregular in shape. The baroque pearl can be purely abstract in its shape. Baroque pearls fall into the baroque category.|
|Button||Flattened to some degree, resembling a button, often used for earrings. Buttons are also categorised as symmetrical.|
|Coin||A flattened disc-shaped pearl. It can be circular or slightly more irregular.|
|Irregular||These pearls are slightly irregular in their shape. For example, a pearl which might otherwise be considered an oval, button or drop pearl but which is not symmetrical in nature. These pearls fall into the baroque category.|
|Rice||Oval in shape, narrower at the ends than they are in the centre. The name derives from 'rice-crispies' after the cereal. Oval pearls can form when two pearls in the same mollusc join together.|
Rose quartz is a quartz crystal that owes its pink hue to the presence of several minerals. The colour ranges from very pale to deep fresh pink. Claudia favours the pale pink quartz for her designs. Believed to bring love, it represents kindness, caring and forgiveness. A stone of romance, rose quartz is said to promote love and improve one's self confidence. Rose quartz has long been a favourite with Claudia and collectors of her designs. It features in our summer collections and is a key stone in our Camellia necklace and features in the Kate necklace and earrings.
Druzy is a layer of minute quartz crystals that have crystallized on the surface of another gemstone or mineral. The gem is believed to stabilizing the aura and to help in clear, pragmatic and creative thinking. Claudia has used druzy quartz to dramatic and glamorous effect in our River Diamond earrings and River Diamond necklace.
The moonstone is associated with the moon and was the stone of the goddess Diana. Throughout history it has been worn as an amulet to bring good emotions to the wearer, while protecting those of a sensitive nature. Moonstone is also considered a good luck stone. The moonstones Claudia uses are sourced from India and display the subtle grey/beige tones that are typical of moonstone from that region. Our Signature moonstone necklace and earrings feature grey moonstone.
The meaning of the name of this stone relates to the Amazon River, as it is a location where there are considerable deposits of the stone. Amazonite is also found in Madagascar, Russia, Canada, Namibia, Mozambique, India, Brazil and the USA. This blue-green crystal is an extremely soothing and calming stone, and varies in colour from milky blue through to darker greeny blue. Claudia has used amazonite in the Camellia necklace
Amethyst is the birthstone for February. Purple amethysts are beautiful stones which are believed to have the power to heal; they have been highly regarded through the ages and are one of the most sought after healing crystals. Our Winter Camellia necklace uses amethyst as an accent stone.
Pyrite is a disulphide of iron, and the metallic crystal grows in cubes, nodules, masses of tiny crystals, and can even be found as flat discs. It has been used in the jewellery industry for thousands of years; specimens have been found in ancient civilizations of the Greeks, Romans and the Incas. Claudia mixes tiny faceted coated pyrite beads with a single pearl in our Lucia designs, which both complement and contrast with each other beautifully.
Agate is a variety of chalcedony, made up from layers of quartz and is the mystical birthstone for September. It is also the birth stone for the zodiac sign of Gemini and the accepted gemstone for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversaries. It is believed to prevent insomnia and insure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. Agate provides a calming influence, improves perception, concentration and helps to develop and increase one's analytical talents. Soft grey agate is the feature stone in our Hebe bracelet and earrings.
Black spinel is part of a group of minerals and is one of the rarest spinels. Spinel is associated with love and thought to encourage passion, increasing the duration of one's life. Black spinel in particular is said to be a protective stone that assists in re-establishing relationships and resolving issues, it is also believed to ease sadness. Our Santorini necklace and bracelet feature sparkling black spinel with a feature grey pearl.
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