65 freshwater pearl designs


Well-known member
Jun 29, 2007
Dear Friends of the freshwater pearl:
OK. I'm exhausted, but my first set of 65 freshwater pearl designs are available for review. Please, please review them. I treasure your comments. I know this type of jewelry is hot in Europe, but I don't know about the U.S. I saw a lot of English-speaking ladies in the Hong Kong airport wearing similar necklaces two years ago. That's what inspired me to produce these pieces. The prices are rock bottom and really designed for wholesale (I hope) purchase rather than retail. 15% off list to members of LJPC (hopefully wholesalers). The solid silver is 92.5% nickel-free silver and meets European Union standards. The gems are real: Bangkok sapphires and rubies-- heat enhanced to boost color and the (wheee) Chinese freshwater pearls are very very real. What is the black cord that goes around the neck? Hand-rolled black Thai silk. Very soft. The clasps are custom made. Each piece is made one-at-a-time at the bench by a team of bench jewelers in Thailand. The Italian artist who signed off on the pieces (lives near me in Thailand) is under contract to a famous house in Milan and works off-the-books for gems and pearls. The webmaster has not yet input the text. The text (coming soon) gives weights, carats, mm of pearls, etc. Lay on your critique please, please. If you hate the designs-- that's good input too. Remember my website is under construction. You "friends of the freshwater pearl" get the first peek. Go to www.lajollapearlcompany.com/catalog. Click on "Hot Italian designs". I apologize for the photo quality-- I was working in Thailand with ceiling light panels modified to plug-in status and a light tent instead of a light cube. My tourist Nikon was actually inside the tent on a tiny tripod, suction-cupped to a white marble slab. I also had 6 desk lamps trained on the light tent with daylight flourescent bulbs--what a horror story! I'm happy to be home with my beloved Nikon D300 and professional lighting courtesy of www.tabletopstudio.com. Please comment the pieces. Please. Please. Grovel, grovel.
Fabulous pieces, Suzanne.
The photos. are great, and the jewellery is beautiful.
I love it all.
Suzanne, the work is lovely - beautifully designed, crafted, and photographed!

your work would do very well in Australia, too... the pieces are bold, yet elegant..
Excellent work! That's what I'd like to see. Only thing is silver tarnishes, so I generally prefer at least rhodium plated.
Rhodium plated

Rhodium plated

Dear Friends;
Thanks for the kind words. Plating!! What an idea!! Oh, my gosh. Why didn't I think of that? I can order all the pieces to be plated. Thanks a bunch. I was so concentrated on the designs and pearls, gem quality, etc. I missed something hugely important. Tarnishing. I don't know anything about rhodium plated silver? How long will the plating last?
I haven't had much of a problem with plated ... but then I don't wear my jewellery everyday since I'm too lazy and have many to rotate through. I expect it'll last a few years. My mom's freshwater rings are plated and seem to last in humid climates. She wears them quite often.
Suzanne, these are really gorgeous, and I think they are very well priced. Lengths would be good, but I was most curious as to how some of the attachments work. I see a few that I would look at to buy if I could wear them in other ways as well - if they would go on a pearl strand say, or a gemstone strand, so sizes of openings etc. become important. Don't get me wrong, I love the black cords, but variety options make pieces more appealing to me. I can't wait to see the rest of your site. Wow, Wow, Wow! :D
Silver cloth easily cleans the pieces between wearings. If you are worried just get a tarnish strip and put it in with your silver pieces while stored and it will be fine. Rhodium lasts a very long time, but will add to the price. I could make these myself, but like to support other people. I see a few purchases in the near future.
I see a few purchases I could make today! Really beautiful and these designs stand out from the crowd yet are wearable.

Your photos look great, too. The only thing I'd want are the lengths and possibly another view of the pieces. And rings, bracelets... Is there an option to special order gold?
Hi Suzanne,

I join the others in acclaiming yours a superlative collection! Love the finishes on the silver, very classy and Italian. Many items there I would personally wear.
What is LJPC?
What's to grovel? They are gorgeous. I can see how these pieces can be incorporated into really dramatic pieces.
What's LJPC? La Jolla Pearl Company

What's LJPC? La Jolla Pearl Company

Dear Friends of the freshwater pearl:
What's LJPC? Well, I had to have a name for my website and I live in La Jolla. Hence, La Jolla Pearl Company. Not too original; took me about 15 seconds to come up with that name. The idea is that if you hand over your email address so I can update you with new designs every month, you get 15% off as a member of the LJPC Club. 15% off is wholesale. I'm not making much profit here--- just trying to stay alive during the next few years and pay my airfare and hotel bills. Hopefully, at 15% off, people will buy several pieces so I don't have to mail one piece a day like Jeremy did for years. He really inspired me to do what I have wanted to do for decades. Designing jewelry is a hobby; I never dreamed the doodles at the margins of my notebooks could be translated into something saleable. Now that I'm about to retire from teaching, well... I both have more time and I find that time is running out. Now or never. I also have designed men's necklaces: pearls and stingray leather. Stingray leather???? Yup. Thailand has stingray farms. Stingray leather is faceted; it looks like black diamonds. Well, they are really unisex necklaces, but my son loved the idea. He is a scuba diver (and a doctor). So, given his enthusiasm I'm thinking of them as men's necklaces.
Can I suggest that the pendants go onto enhancer findings - they would make great enhancers as well as straightforward pendants
Freshwater pearls, Bangkok gems and GOLD!!!

Freshwater pearls, Bangkok gems and GOLD!!!

Dear friends of the freshwater pearl:
When I started designing pieces with Chinese freshwater pearls and precious metals, I wanted to do everything in Thai gold. Ooops. Gold hit $1000 an ounce (31 grams). That means that the raw material in each pendant would be $500-$2,000 BEFORE adding pearls, rubies, sapphires and topaz. Uh,oh. Each piece would be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. So, I switched to silver. Pearls and silver look really really good together so I wasn't sad for long. Tarnishing however is a headache-- When I use Wright's silver cream on the silver, I first mask off the pearls with that blue painter's tape. The idea of Rhodium plating makes sense. I'll ask the bench jewelers via my administrative assistant in Thailand. I don't want to lose details like the texture of a leaf or flower, however, so I'll also ask the Italian designer for his opinion. He's kind of touchy. I have to be very very humble. Good idea, though, making the pieces in extra-white gold or yellow gold. Until the price of gold drops, however, I think we will all just have to keep on polishing.
Freshwater pearl enhancers

Freshwater pearl enhancers

Can I suggest that the pendants go onto enhancer findings - they would make great enhancers as well as straightforward pendants
That idea is terrific. I think enhancers may be the way to go. In that way, everyone who sells pearls might buy some pieces. I thought of La Jolla Pearl Company as EITHER pearl necklaces OR freshwater pearls-silver-gems-and-silk necklaces. Two separate businesses. You are bringing both together. OK. Pearl necklaces (all the same size) with enhancers. That means I have to think what would look good with 7.5mm pearls and what would look nice with 9mm pearls. Oh, thank you. Fun, fun, fun. Look for them at this time next year. I'll make 100 drawings, 50 will be thrown in the trash (I'll feel like fainting), 50 will be re-worked and we'll have something that will let all of us buy more freshwater pearls. How very thoughtful of you to share your idea. Meanwhile I'll look over the existing pendants and see which can be adapted (then offer the custom-made hardware that turns them into enhancers for pearl necklaces).
These designs look really fun :) I like!
gold spot market as of Friday afternoon's close was down to $830. Insiders i know at metal refiners tell me it is dropping slowly but they expect it to go down considerably in the next year. People are dumping their gold jewelry, and the fear that it will go up like the housing market did then crash has investors nervous. It was the late 70's when gold ran up over $700 an ounce then fell to under $280 and stayed there for quite a while. This could easily happen again.

Problem I see with Rhodium is that it is selling for over $6000 an ounce. Plating it is much cheaper, but will be a big added expense even with the plating methods. Ask your designer about depletion guilding of fine silver.
Oh wow. I love these! Are they immediately available for sale? Also, are these all one-of-a-kind, or are you equipped to make however many are needed? (Those are all very selfish questions on my part) Wow wow wow. I am SO happy! Really, I'm about 5 seconds away from squealing. These are exactly the kind of pieces I love.

See, it seems like whenever I want to buy a pendant (I'm a pendant person), I have to compromise by buying pieces with gold hardware, simply because that's all I can find. These are BEAUTIFUL and very affordable.

Ah. Really, I love them. I could write you an essay on each one (while I like the vast majority of them, some aren't my cup of tea)

A few notes: (since you asked for a review)
1. I think you should have an option of having the pendant be on a sterling silver chain (like, $20 extra or whatever it costs). I love the pendants themselves, but I'd personally switch all of them to a silver chain the second I got them. Maybe you could offer both a snake chain and the normal... linky type of chain (I am so not a lowely beader). It would be more convenient if you offered them that way, so I don't have to go through all the trouble of getting them, finding a better chain elsewhere, ordering the new chain, cutting/meddling with the black silk, etc. etc. etc.

2. Most of the designs look like silver pieces with pearl accents. I'd consider making some pieces with higher quality, bigger pearls, so that you could incorporate a new line into your collection. Some of your designs are so pretty that I wish you could use 10-11mm or 11-12mm pearls.

3. I'd like to see more complete sets and variety. I'd love to buy a pendant with matching earrings, etc. Also, it might be nice to offer the most popular designs in a 1-2 different sizes.
Silver chain as an option

Silver chain as an option

Dear Friend of the freshwater pearl:
I bought 50 nickel-free silver snake chains, thinking that when the Thai silk eventually wore out (or people got bored with the black necklace), clients could switch to silver snake chains. So I do have some silver chains on hand of the same composition of silver as the pendants and I can buy more in Thailand. I like the idea, however, of even more flexibility: integrating the pendant with silver or pearls at the whim of the moment. I also have black stingray necklaces-- although they are kinda/sorta edgy. My daughter likes the black silk better. My son likes the black stingray. How much inventory do I have? At present I only have one each of each design. How would you order a dozen of a particular design? Well, they are produced one-by-one so ordering a 100pieces would take 60-90 days lead time. That is the disadvantage of hand-crafted work. Bench jewelers produce slowly and carefully. The advantage, of course, is that you don't see the work at Wal-Mart and very few people on the planet have what you have. What would be the conditions of purchase? 60% down. Why 60%? Because I have very little profit margin. I might have to kick in a lot of my own money to supplement yours. How much? Depends on the models ordered.