When a high-end department store called Assael earlier this year asking for a tiara, designer Sean Gilson and company vice president Peggy Grosz were happy to comply. With headpieces a fixture in myriad runways shows of late, the timing for a fresh fine-jewelry version—particularly one that converts to a necklace—seemed right.
So Gilson set to work designing a youthful one in the same design family as his Bubbles jewelry collection (think playful clusters of fine pearls) for Assael. He completed it just a few weeks ago.
The frame is made in platinum and features four articulated sections that allow it work as both a tiara and choker. The pearls? All white South Sea ranging in size from 8 mm to 15 mm, 27 in total. All the pearls have “a slight pink to them,” says Grosz. Assael CEO Christina Lang Assael weighed in with some requests: the largest pearl should be in the center position, and she didn’t want the whole tiara set too high less it be mistaken for a monarchical one.
The tiara converts to a necklace by unscrewing two of the pearls, lifting the necklace off the headband, and using clever concealed elements to connect it to the back half of the necklace—a half strand of graduated South Sea pearls.
Diamonds, too, have a place in the mix. But not brilliant cuts; Gilson used 5.44 cts. t.w. Old Mine and Old European cuts to soften the overall look. “They’re not perfectly round but they have a lot of personality and a subtlety to them that complements the luster of pearls,” says Gilson.
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Bubbles tiara from Assael
Shaking Pearls Up
Master of kaleidoscope shaker jewels—gems sandwiched between colorless sapphire—Moritz Glik recently added pearls to offerings. Two small collections dubbed Mar and Concha (sea and shell, respectively in Portuguese, Glik’s native language) within the Apura Collection put nacreous pearls in the spotlight. Mar has two pieces featuring saltwater pearls (think akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian keshi) and Concha has freshwater pearls set into a pair of earrings, a pendant, and a ring. Another pair of pearl earrings is part of Glik’s Voa series. The jewels are all made in 18k yellow or rose gold. Retail prices start at $1,900.
Concha ring in 18k rose gold with natural-color pink freshwater pearls encased in a white sapphire kaleidoscope shaker, $1,900; Moritz Glik
Some of Jewelmer’s newest pieces featuring their golden pearls grown in the Philippines take inspiration from history—think of its Caravelles collection—and life, such as its heart-motif pieces in the Petits Coeurs collection.
Heart-style earrings in 18k yellow gold with golden South Sea pearls are from the Petits Coeurs collection by Jewelmer. According to the brand, heart motifs symbolize love and meaningful connection and its passion for artistry and the planet. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase.
Necklace in 18k yellow gold with golden South Sea keshi pearls from the Caravelles collection by Jewelmer. Caravelle depicts the fluid lines of excitement present in long voyages, like those taken by the Portuguese in the 16th century on caravel ships. Email email@example.com for purchase.