Tag Archives: metallic pearls

Day Four…Tahitian Temptation and A Single White Edison

Day four. This is my account of how I made the classic mistake and went back to a wholesaler..and then finally bought a perfect Edison pearl

I went to the Tahitian office just to look for one pearl (of which more below) I didn’t find it but a couple of hours later I did totter out with several strands of pretty Tahitians as well as single rounds and drops for earrings and pendants.

That was not the plan! But some strands had quietly called me from when I saw them a couple of days ago – rather yummy shades of chocolate Tahitians – milk, plain and white chocolates. Then the boss wandered over and waved some other very colourful circles under my receptive nose. None of them are perfect strands: they’re marked and flawed but very lustrous and I will be able to hit a great price point for Christmas with them. Many of the flaws will only show up to the experienced eye from more than a few inches away.

It’s all too easy to get obsessive and perfectionist about having the perfectly round, perfectly smooth, perfectly flawless and perfectly lustrous pearl but from only a short distance only big flaws are visible.

I also spent some time poking around the bags of loose rounds and drops to find pearls for earrings and pendants and enhancers. I didn’t find as many as I want from the whole trip but it is something I can do at the show next week

So, why was I at the South Sea wholesalers anyway? I was on a mission to find a single perfect 14-15mm white round pearl for a customer for a ring. There were no South Seas within budget but I made the mistake of sitting down and looking round!

I found a totally luscious 16mm white Edison at another office – perfectly mirror metallic with a subtle pink and green overtone but it was way over budget. It was the sort of pearl you could take home and just look at.

white pink green 15mm round

white 15mm metallic pearl with pink and green overtones.

Eventually I switched on my brain and went to the home of Edison pearls (dur!) and of course they plenty to chose from. The one I eventually selected is perfectly round, flawless to all intents, mirror metallic with a perfectly round fish-eye and with a faint pink overtone. Bang on budget too!

five white edison pearls

Can you see which of the five I finally selected – all had the same grade but one was more metallic than the others. Proves the need to select in person. (it’s the one bottom left at 7 o’clock)

I’ve also picked out some non-classic Edisons – smallish mis-shape seconds, but I’ll be able to break the strands to make some great necklaces. Dustbin liner bags full of pearl strands gone through to find a few.

Finally another office and bags of ‘biwa’ stick pearls with fabulous lustre from which I selected some stunning pearls to develop a design idea. They had some amazing fireballs but the biggest and wildest shapes were just too expensive.

undrilled stick pearls

natural colours undrilled natural colours stick pearls. I picked these from a huge bag of AAA,

That was day four.


Day Three – Metallic Earring Pairs and More Strands

Day Three. I think one of my favourite things to do is finding pairs. It’s a task which can’t be hurried. You have a swathe of pearls before you. From hundreds of pearls you first select the ones you want – by colour and lustre.

You might end up with 20 from 500 which are themselves all AAA grade pearls. Further scrutiny rejects two or three more as not metallic enough (!)

And then I try out matches by eye and trial and error until I’m happy. And I’m fussy about matching and getting fussier. It’s very satisfying (or conversely irritating when you have a great pearl but you can’t find a match for it: is that pearl good enough to be a pendant?)

white metallic drop pearls

White metallic big drop pearls (please excuse the strobe effect from the lights)

Matching white drops sounds like a pretty straightforward job, for example, but it isn’t. Shape can be drip, drop of barrel..the white can be white white, or a bit pink or a bit silver, the metallic ‘fish-eye’ can be a different shape or intensity..or simply one pearl will be bigger than the other.

And today I played with fireballs too! You have to allow some degree of laxity in the match – there will be a whole head between the pearls, although some customers still demand a perfect match from such a freeform.

fireball pearls

First and second stages of selection for fireballs from a huge bag of them

I also fell to temptation from some white and coloured strands – including some incredibly colourful dyed peacock blacks -as well as a routine re-stock with 200 strands of A+ grade white 3mm roundish pearls.

Tomorrow – one 15mm+ white undrilled or half drilled perfect pearl for a ring, three big frilly purple fireballs and a couple of strands of dark, milk and white chocolate Tahitians keep calling me..!