June’s birthstone is Pearl. The only gemstones made by living creatures – molluscs – these wonders of nature don’t require any processing, making them a dream for jewellery designers. “In their natural state they show their full gloss,” clarifies Kiki. “The ideal Pearl is perfectly round and smooth but many other shapes, known as baroque Pearls, can occur – I like using both because sometimes a more unusual shape suits a design better.”
Pearls vary in size between a pinhead and a pigeon’s egg – one of the largest fine pearls ever found, called the Hope Pearl, is an impressive two inches long. They have been used as adornment for millennia, and at least since the time of the ancient Greeks, when Pearls were believed to be tears of the gods. The meaning of the name ‘pearl’ comes from the Old French perle, which in turn came from the Latin perna meaning ‘leg’, referencing the leg-of-mutton shape of an open mollusc shell.
The popularity of the gemstone endures and Pearl jewellery is worn by women of every age. While as many as 70 per cent are strung and worn as necklaces, Kiki prefers to use them more creatively in exquisite, contemporary drop and stud earrings. “I use white gold, yellow gold and diamonds for my Pearl designs,” Kiki explains, “to subtly complement rather than detract from the wonderfully distinctive iridescent sheen of the Pearls.”
In many cultures, Pearls symbolise purity and innocence, which is why it has become a tradition for brides to wear them on their wedding day. The Pearl is also the birthstone for babies born under Gemini and Cancer, and the 30th wedding anniversary stone. We’ll be shining a spotlight on Kiki’s wedding jewellery later this month so watch this space…
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