This is from an article posted in the Copely News Service:
SPRING-SUMMER FASHION AND STYLE 2005
Inky Tahitian pearls offer a touch of the exotic
By Sharon Mosley
Copley News Service
Pearls have long been an elegant favorite of gem lovers everywhere. And today there is more variety in size, color, shape and price than ever before turning up on stylish women (and men) everywhere.
“This is an especially exciting time for anyone who loves pearls,” says Antoinette Matlins, author of “The Pearl Book” (Gemstone Press, $19.95). “There are cultured pearls that cost less than $100 -- and over $1 million! The age of the cultured pearl has blossomed with more varieties than have ever been seen before and there are new varieties just appearing. Pearls now rival the finest diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires set in jewelry that is nothing less than fabulous.”
TROPICAL TREASURES -- The darker color palette of the Tahitian pearl can range from light gray to midnight black and is highlighted by many underlying tones. CNS Photo courtesy of Pearl Paradise.
Since the dawn of pearl culturing at the turn of the 20th century, pearls have not been just for the rich and famous. In today’s updated, fashionable styles, they’re no longer found only in the creamy classic strands that hang around the necks of prim and proper prepsters. Now jewelry designers are taking the exotic route with pearls and transforming them into unique creations that appeal to all generations.
Pearls are morphing into necklaces of knotted silk, lariat designs or leather chokers. They’re dangling from rings, charm bracelets and the shirt cuffs of discriminating gentlemen. Set into whimsical brooches or exquisite cuff bracelets, pearls are memorable in new designs. Trendy pearl wearers are doubling up their necklaces, layering long and short strands one on top of each other.
And the more colorful, the better. The darker color palette of the black Tahitian pearl is really catching on with fashionistas, according to Helen Dallas of the Cultured Pearl Association in New York. Ranging in color from light gray to midnight black with pistachio, aubergine and blue tones in between, Tahitian pearls are “very hip for the younger generation” of pearl wearers.
“I think it’s more unusual to be a black pearl than a traditional white pearl,” adds Dallas.
This distinctive characteristic of the inky Tahitian pearl indeed appeals to a less conservative customer who wants to invest in exotic luxury. And what better way to accessorize fashion’s latest blue-green color craze than to tie on a strand of these dramatic pearls?
The black pearls are a big seller at Pearl Paradise, according to Jeremy Shepherd, president and founder of www.pearlparadise.com. Shepherd has seen a significant increase in the sales of the Tahitian beauties incorporated into necklaces, pendants, earrings and rings.
“We sold 31 Tahitian strands in all of 2003,” says Shepherd, “and since December of 2004 until now we have sold more than 200 full strands and nearly 3,000 single-pearl pieces.”
Shepherd is so convinced of the fashionable appeal of black pearls that he is gearing up for a bumper crop of sales this year.
“All of our distributors are experiencing the same demand for black pearls,” he says, “so last month I decided to buy an entire harvest from a black pearl farm in French Polynesia to cover the demand for 2005.”
While golden South Sea pearls have also been hot sellers for Pearl Paradise, the black pearls continue to attract customers who are interested in buying good-quality jewelry with a fashionable twist. They may have inherited their mother’s white pearl necklace, but now they’re ready for a little something different.
“I think people are finally catching on that you no longer have to be a millionaire to afford a strand,” says Shepherd.
© Copley News Service