Professional Jeweler Archive: Gemstone Mixology

April 2000

Gemstones & Pearls/New Products


Gemstone Mixology

A style that bodes well for all gemstones


Gemstones attract us with their brilliant colors, pearls with their creamy luster. Combine the two and you create a feast for the eyes.

Imagine the simple elegance of a color interpreted two ways in one piece of jewelry: the brilliant transparency of pink sapphires and soft translucence or opacity of pink pearls, for example. Picture the eye-popping design possibilities of combining citrine and peridot with black pearls. “The challenge is to create a balance between unique and simple while allowing the elements to speak in a controlled way,” says Kim Koch of Kim Koch Designs, Mequon, WI.

Pearls are the wild card in gemstone-pearl combos, say designers. Organic free-form, geometric and nature designs can make a pearl come alive. “The pearl has to find its right place to create harmony or it will not sell,” says Ella Gafter for Ellagem, New York City.

Another key to selling this jewelry is education. Tell customers about a pearl’s history, its origin and why it possesses its natural color. Talk about gem-stone treatments and rarity. Also explain how to care for the jewelry:

  • Keep it away from abrasives and protect it from hard contact.
  • Clean it with warm soapy water and a very soft brush. Dry with a cotton cloth.
  • A soapy film can develop on gemstones if customers wear them while washing their hands. Offer free inspections and cleanings and free yearly refinishing. This brings customers back to your store, providing another sales opportunity.

Consider displaying this jewelry on pickled oak for a contemporary look or Leatherette pads that replicate the pearls’ shapes. Pearl and gemstone combos have intricate designs, so display them on solid colors.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

This dramatic necklace combines Tahitian cultured pearls, faceted citrine and peridot, and a sprinkling of diamonds.

De Vroomen, London, UK; (44-171) 837-4914, fax (44-171) 837-2891, leo@devroomen.co.uk.

Designed by Steven Powell McHone, this one-of-a-kind enhancer features a lavender mabé pearl surrounded by 0.61 carat of pavé diamonds and 0.67 carat of channel-set plum-to-green color-change garnets set in gold. Suggested retail, $3,050 for the enhancer. The strand of lavender Chinese freshwater cultured pearls is $195.

All That Glitters, Colorado Springs, CO; (719) 475-7160.

Platinum earrings each hold two 8.5mm pearls – one black Tahitian cultured pearl and one white – with diamond pavé and ruby beads. Keystone, $6,700.

Barnett Robinson Inc., New York City; (800) 223-0240 or (212) 682-1086, fax (212) 682-1848.

Platinum earrings are set with 0.77 carat of triangle-cut diamonds, 4.88 carats of oval sapphires and 16.4mm and 14.2mm natural-color Tahitian cultured pearls. Suggested retail, $28,800.

Assael International, New York City; (212) 819-0060, fax (212) 764-1965.

Basket pin features 1.87 carats of emeralds, 1.70 carats of yellow sapphires, 0.52 carat of rubies, 0.53 carat of round diamonds and 14mm and 14.50mm South Sea cultured pearls, all resting on a mother of pearl basket with a black onyx base. Suggested retail, $25,000.

Ella Gafter for Ellagem, New York City; (212) 398-0101, fax (212) 302-0153.

Necklace from the Bossa Nova collection combines freshwater cultured pearls with a gray Tahitian cultured pearl. Diamond accents and amethyst cabochons are set in 18k gold.

Aaron Henry Jewelry Designs, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 623-4228, fax (213) 623-7891.

Freshwater pearl choker features multicolor jade beads and a carved jade clasp. Suggested retail, $1,500.

Mason-Kay Jade and Fine Jewelry, Denver, CO; (800) 722-7575 or (303) 393-7575, fax (303) 393-0201.

Gold starfish pin has five pink tourmalines, 0.26 carat of diamonds and a 9.5mm white Tahitian cultured pearl. Suggested retail, $1,500.

Steven Lee Designs, Aiea, HI; (808) 488-1000, fax (808) 487-3159.

Gold earrings each feature a princess-cut ruby and diamond and a 6mm cultured pearl. Suggested retail, $715.

Antica Design Inc., New York City; (800) 934-9850, fax (201) 363-8719, nk5037@aol.com.

18k gold earrings feature handmade filigree and seed pearls surrounding 2.57 carats of faceted round amethysts. Suggested retail, $650.

Timeless Gem Designs, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 488-9668.

14k gold earrings are each set with a white freshwater cultured pearl and a blue topaz teardrop. Suggested retail, $135.

Zoe B Ltd., New York City; (212) 594-1345, fax (212) 594-1382, abrose98@aol.com.

Pink sapphires and cultured pink pearls are set in a 14k white gold bracelet. Suggested retail, $5,490.

Kim Koch Designs, Mequon, WI; (262) 241-8244, fax (262) 241-1360.


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