PEARLS - made by nature, nurtured by man. This may be the inspiration behind Swiss luxury brand Hodel's exquisite pearl creations. It also explains the timeless and classical appeal of pearls in a nutshell.
A pioneer in the pearl industry, Hodel will be showcasing a piece called Crescendo Angel's Wings at the Singapore JewelFest 2008. Presented by DeGem, Crescendo Angel's Wings comprises a gold South Sea pearl necklace, earrings and pearl ring, and these are set with graduated shades of exquisite diamonds and yellow sapphires.
Local jeweller Sunida is featuring Endearing Bloom, a monochromatic interpretation of nature's beauty of diamonds with white South Sea pearls and black Tahitian pearls.Increasingly, pearls set with coloured gemstones and diamonds are appealing to jewellery lovers, young and old.
Ms Cherie Thum, chief executive officer and designer of Cherie Thum Couture Jewelry from Malaysia, says: "Traditionally, people look for perfect round pearls which are rare."But today, irregular-shaped baroque pearls and keshi are becoming popular as they are trendy enough for both the young and old."
Keshi pearls, which are formed when the oyster rejects and spits out the implanted nucleus before the culturing process is completed, are loved for their lustre and shimmering surface.Ms Thum is one of five jewellers exhibiting exclusively in the five-day Spring/ Summer showcase from today to Tuesday.The others are JOON, Jadeite Collection, La Tienne and Intermix Gems.
One of the must-see pieces in Ms Thum's collection is from The Eternal Collection, which is a Columbian emerald and diamonds set in 18K white gold, amalgamating the beauty of five natural gemstones and the elegance of geometric shapes.Ms Thum, who has been in the trade for seven years, says a rule of thumb when choosing coloured gems and pearls boils down to the 5Cs - carat, colour, clarity, cut and country of origin.
She says: "In nearly all diamond certificates, country of origin is not even mentioned, but for coloured gems, the different minerals found in different countries affect the colour."For instance, Myanmar is known for its rubies, Columbia for its emeralds, Kashmir for its sapphires, Paraiba for the bluest tourmalines and Arizona for its peridots.
"But it will be a misconception to think that only the rubies from Burma are good," Ms Thum says. "Quality rubies can be found in many other countries such as Thailand and Malawi."This is when the other 4Cs - carat, colour, clarity and cut - come in useful.
The cut, for example, should be proportionate to the size."The biggest stone is not the best stone unless it has the depth that is proportionate to the length and width to give it a maximum brilliance," she adds.
When it comes to pearls, she replaces "C" for country with "C" for caution."The Philippines is known for its gold pearls; Australia for its white, silver and cream pearls and Tahiti for its black pearls.
"But every farm and country harvests the good and bad quality pearls," says Ms Thum.
Your best bet is therefore to buy from a reliable and reputable source.
Ms Joon Courtenay, chief executive officer and designer of JOON, agrees.
She says: "You just have to buy from a trusted jeweller."