Showing posts with label Gemological Institute of America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gemological Institute of America. Show all posts

Pearls ~ Today's Hottest Jewelry Trend


Since pearls are my favorite gem, I'm loving the fact that they're showing up everywhere these days!

What more could a pearl-girl ask for, right?! 

I love how jewelry connects us to people, 
places, or certain times in our lives.

Meaningful jewelry is one of the phrases that echoed through the halls at the jewelry shows in Vegas recently, too. 

The Colosseum in Rome 
has this beautiful cross, 
which was challenging to photograph 
from where I was able to stand, 
but the ancient, rustic ruins inspired me 
back in 2012 & 2013 to 
create pearl jewelry that 
reminded me of my time in Italy.

Quite often, when I see pearls 
~ especially large, beautiful, baroque ones ~ 
I think of Ancient Empires
 and the important role pearls have played in our history. 

I believe this is why I like seeing pearls 
used in interesting, some-what rustic looking ways. 

I love seeing pearls mixed with textured metals
 or mingled amidst ancient coins, crosses, and other relics.

A couple of pearl trends that are hot right now are hoop earrings.

Hoops Are Trending - Big Time!

Personally I think Hoops, just like Pearls, 
are ALWAYS on trend. 
But then again, I can be seen wearing 
the same simple pair of sterling silver hoops daily. 

For years...and years.

Hey, when something works, you stick with it, right?

Another hot trend in pearls is

Baroque Pearl Shapes

Jewelry featuring baroque shaped pearls is one trend that's growing in popularity with no signs of slowing down soon.  (Yay!!)

I feel they're some of the most interesting and beautiful pearls around!

So tell me, 

What's your favorite type of pearl?

Your favorite piece of pearl jewelry?

Do you see yourself wearing any of today's 
hottest pearl trends?

If so, which ones?

Let me know in the comments below or hop on over to Instagram and let me know. 

I hope you've enjoyed our little Pearl-Time.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love and Pearls, Baby!!


For your further Pearl enjoyment,
I've included a few links to some fabulous resources such as:

(This writer/jewelry designer is on page 38!)

~ ENJOY ~ 

Michelle Ludlam-Buettner (Shel) is a Certified Pearl Specialist through the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) and she holds a Graduate Pearls Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In addition to creating her own jewelry line, she is also a freelance copywriter specializing in the gem and jewelry industry who can often be found fawning over pearls in her spare time.  Follow Shel’s blog at and or see what she’s snapping over on Instagram @pearlgeek.

Boring Pearl Info,...Said No One EVER!

Okay, well maybe it has been said, but thankfully I was out of ear-shot because that statement kinda hurts my feelings.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
I will admit that while studying Pearls at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the part about the mollusk's reproductive system was probably the least favorite part of my studies.

First off, a Natural Pearl is created in nature, by nature, without the help of any human hands what-so-ever and is extremely rare (these days anyway) and very valuable.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace - MiShel Designs

Cultured Pearls are pearls formed when humans 'assist' or 'help' the process along.

Thank goodness for the science behind Cultured Pearls, because without all of this 'boring stuff' (she whispers softly so as not to offend her pretty little gems!) it would be practically impossible for me to enjoy pearls - using them in my designs all the time - the way I do now.  

Freshwater Cultured Pearls Knotted on Genuine Leather

Yes, it's this 'boring' part (interesting science to others!) about the Mollusk's tiny, delicate, little gonads (and how he's gently sliced open so he can have things inserted into him and then carefully patched back up ) that gives us our beautiful, CULTURED pearls - whether freshwater ones or saltwater ones - and makes them readily available in today's market.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
It's basically what allows us to use these gorgeous gems in our own handcrafted jewelry designs.
(Insert happy dance here!!)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Jewelry Designs - MiShel Designs

Since the Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop I hosted back on September 15th, I've had more than the usual number of questions from people asking me about the different kinds of pearls. I've also noticed an unusually high number of articles and snippets mentioning pearls in today's world of jewelry fashion.

(Check out the WWD article about the "Pearl" exhibit that just opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London!)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Pewter Cross Bracelet - MiShel Designs

So today I wanted to clarify a few things and give you some additional resources to turn to so you can find more information on our beautiful little friends.

Faceted Freshwater Cultured Pearl Earrings
Copper Component - Kristi Bowman
Earring Design - Michelle Buettner
Quick Facts About Pearls:
(the non-boring, not-so-technical stuff)

There are two types of pearls - Real pearls and Imitation pearls. 

Breaking this down, there are two types of Real Pearls: Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls. 

Natural pearls are: a pearl formed without human assistance. (found in nature, forming on it's own via natural circumstances with out any human intervention)
Cultural pearls are: a pearl formed as the result of human intervention in the formation process.  (pearls formed when humans have intervened and 'helped' the natural process along).  
Under Cultured Pearls there are two typesFreshwater Cultured Pearls and Saltwater Cultured Pearls.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls are cultured in bodies of freshwater such as lakes, etc.
Under Saltwater Cultured Pearls there are three main (most common) types, including Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea, and these are cultured in bodies of saltwater. 

Yes, Cultured pearls, whether Freshwater Cultured or Saltwater Cultured, are real pearlsNot Natural Pearls, but still real pearls.   And they both (freshwater cultured pearls and saltwater cultured pearls) come from Bivalve Mollusks (oysters, mussels, etc.) 
Natural Pearls can be distinguished from Cultured Pearls by an x-ray to reveal their inner components/structure and although I will not go into detail between tissue nucleation vs. bead nucleation or things of this nature today, I have provided links on my pearls page for those of you who are interested in learning more.  

Natural pearls are extremely rare in this day and age and therefore quite expensive, especially compared to their cultured pearl counterparts.  I'd love to be able to hold an entire strand of Natural Pearls in my hands,....oh wow.  Yep, that's on my bucket list!

As far as Imitation pearls go, there are bunches of them.  Anything such as Swarovski Crystal Pearls (awesome colors and cool shapes!), to Resin or Plastic pearls, Majorica/Majorca Pearls, or any pearl that is neither a Natural or a Cultured Pearl is an Imitation. Many people refer to these pearls as 'faux' pearls.  In the industry, we refer to them as Imitation.
For future reference, the above information is available on my "Pearls" page here on my blog.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
Also on my Pearls Page are some excellent and trusted resources to turn to for such things as the history of pearls, pearl farming, definitions of various pearls (more thorough and in depth than the ones I have provided) and resources to turn to should you need to have your pearls appraised (I can only grade pearls, not appraise them, because I don't hold an appraiser's license) or to obtain identification or classification reports.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Necklace
MiShel Designs

Oh, and then there's the fun stuff like, Famous Pearls!
(I know, I'm such a geek!)

In May 2013, a single strand of natural pearls (pictured above) sold at auction in Geneva
 for nearly $8.5 million setting a world auction record. (source: Forbes Magazine)

I truly hope this small intro into pearls has heightened your awareness of these gorgeous beauties and that they will find their way into your heart like they have mine!

Freshwater Cultured Pearls and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

And, if I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to point you in the direction of someone who does! :-)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Charm Necklace and Earring Set - MiShel Designs

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and PEARLS, Baby!!


Good Girls Wear Pearls!

And so do some 'Knotty Girls', some 'Cool Metal Chicks' and 'Wild Wire Women', too!

Welcome to the Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop Reveal!

(Click on any of the highlighted words (Links) through out this post
to be taken to articles and/or videos about Pearls!)
 There are so many pearl quotes, but one of my all time favorites is this one:
The Pearl is the Queen of Gems and the Gem of Queens! ~Author Unknown~
I do believe the Pearl is the Queen of Gems and I don't think I'm alone in this belief.
Both the Romans and Egyptians cherished pearls for their mesmerizing beauty and it's recorded that pearls were used as adornment in the 5th Century BC, with even earlier mention of them being documented by the Chinese.

The Pearl has been regarded as the ultimate symbol of wealth and social status in certain areas (and eras) and has been (and still is) closely associated with love, marriage and the feminine/female aspect through out history. 

In today's modern world, pearls have waxed and waned in the fashion spotlight, often being regarded as stuffy, prim and proper; strictly for the more 'mature' crowd (Gasp!!). 
Fact is, pearls are never out of style. Nor are they 'stuffy'!

Click on any photo to enlarge it :-)

Their pure versatility and timeless beauty allows them to go with anything (from jeans to wedding gowns), with any person, for any reason, during every season.
(In my opinion, anyway!)
In recent years pearls have emerged once again, making a strong comeback not only in jewelry and accessories, but finding their way in/on just about everything we touch.

So, what better way to celebrate the beloved and appealing Pearl, than with a design challenge blog hop?

The rules were simple. Design something, anything, using pearls in the design. Real pearls or imitation ones, as many or as little as you'd like - the choice was yours.

Then I asked that you share where you purchased or received your pearls (preferable with a shop name and/or link) so we could all go shopping for more pearls after the hop!

Faceted Pearl and Copper Earrings
Lovely Green Faceted Pearls: Majestic Pearl
Super Cool Copper Components: Kristi Bowman Designs
Copper Ear Wires - MiShel Designs :-)
I've been in love with pearls since I was a little girl and in 2006 I earned my Pearls Diploma from the
Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

From the beautiful pearly whites of the Akoya, to the soft, creamy South Sea Pearls, to the various natural and dyed colors of today's freshwater pearls, I love them all, but the ones that take my breath away and will forever have my heart are Tahitian Pearls!
To me, their beauty is like no other on the planet and although I generally cannot afford to use them in my designs, I get my fix by adding dyed, freshwater cultured pearls in 'Tahitian' colors as much as I possibly can. 
I use pearls in many of my jewelry designs and "There isn't a pearl I've met that I haven't fallen in love with!" 

Triple Strand Pearl and Bali Silver Bracelet
Pearls: Bead World, Ayla's Originals and King's Ransom/Betty Sue King/Pearl Goddess
Clasp: Star's Clasps, Bali Spacer Beads: Ands Silver

This being so, and since I can't crochet, knit or sew, and I don't do much in the way of mixed media, I chose to create jewelry using pearls for this blog hop. 
(Surprise, Surprise!) 

Gorgeous Honkin' Ringed Pearls - Evergreen Trading Co. - 626-279-2723
Pretty Baroque Pearls - Beads Galore (there website was down - this is their facebook page)
Turquoise - Rincon Trading Co.
Beautiful Silver Button and Little Silver Star/Heart Charm on bracelet - Untamed Spirit Studios / Kim Hatzold
Leather Cord: Leather Cord USA
Waxed Jewelry Cord - Knotty Do-It-All / Sandra Younger

I've designed so many different pieces of jewelry using pearls in some way or another over the years and because I've been showing a lot of them here lately on my blog, I was hard pressed to come up with something new and refreshing to create and post for this challenge.
(Not to mention I had to go in for a root canal on Wednesday, too!!)

Knotted Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Bracelet
Pretty Baroque Large Hole Pearls - Beads Galore (there website was down - this is their facebook page)
Turquoise - Rincon Trading Co.
Beautiful Silver Button and Little Silver Star/Heart Charm - Untamed Spirit Studios / Kim Hatzold
Leather: Leather Cord USA
Waxed Jewelry Cord - Knotty Do-It-All / Sandra Younger

But, I did get a few things finished just in time.
(Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?) 

Leather Knotted Pearl Choker / Double Wrap Bracelet
Super Honkin' Large Ringed White Pearls - Evergreen Trading Co. - 626-279-2723
Leather: Leather Cord USA
Button - JoAnn Fabrics
I've included links through out this post to various websites, tutorials, videos and/or articles on such pearl topics as the history of pearls, pearl farming, how to hand knot pearls, the care and storing of your pearls, Pearl Facts / Folklore, and more.


(Just click on any of the highlighted words to be taken to something wonderful in the Pearl World!)

Leather Cord Charm Necklace and Complimentary Earrings
Cool Little Heart Charm - Untamed Spirit Studios / Kim Hatzold
Ear Wires and .999 Fine Silver Hammered Circle Links - MiShel Designs

You can click on the PEARLS page (up top) here on my blog anytime to browse the links I have to suppliers, articles, videos and more.

Men's "Christopher Columbus" Cross Arm-Wear
"Christopher Columbus" Hand Poured, Recycled Pewter Cross - Mike Buettner - (aka - The Hubs!)
Awesome, Big-Ass Tahitian Colored Freshwater Cultured Pearls - Majestic Pearl
Leather: Leather Cord USA, Button - JoAnn's
Waxed Jewelry Cord - Knotty Do-It-All / Sandra Younger

Plus, you can click here to go to the post I did earlier this week where I answered questions some of the participants asked and also provided links to more websites and videos as well.

"The Queen Mary"
Pearls: Majestic Pearl, Ayla's Originals, Evergreen Trading Co., Jennifer Gems, Kings Ransom/Betty Sue  King,
Pearl Paradise, Pearl Concepts, and Lucky  Gems
Faceted Smokey Quartz, Black Onyx - Designer's Own - (Sorry - I have forgotten where I got these stones!)
Swarovski Crystals, Czech Glass - Artbeads, Fusion Beads


I want to thank all the participants, some of whom mentioned their 'fear of pearls', but jumped in on this blog challenge anyway, for taking the time to create various types of handcrafted art using one of history's most beautiful and alluring gems!
So, grab a cup of black pearl tea, settle in and hop around to the participants below and check out all the wonderful ways they've used their glorious pearls!  
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Pearls, Baby!!