When I was a young girl, my grandmother gave me a strand of her pearls.
This was an event that would not only lead to a personal love for the gem, but to the conceptualization of my company, Lustre Jewels. When my grandmother gave me her pearls, I was not only struck with their beauty, but with how wonderful they felt in my hands. I was enamored with their luxurious texture and the distinctive feel of their weight. I still am. Unlike other gemstones, the pearl begs to be handled. To fully appreciate its beauty, it must not only be seen, but also held. Clients often comment on how the pearl feels, a factor that differentiates it from other jewels.
As the only gem created by a living organism, all pearls carry with them the history of their formation.
They are strongly influenced by their surroundings, and must be shielded from pollution, overcrowding, and severe temperatures. Pearls must be carefully and deliberately farmed, with specially trained caretakers present to gently feed and bathe them so they are able to reach their optimum potential. Each pearl wears the unique story of its creation in its shape, color, texture, and size.
The pearl’s journey from formation to jewelry does not stop once it is harvested. Pearls must then be cleaned, sorted, polished, and graded before they are ready to be strung or set in a piece of jewelry. Selecting just the right pearl for the setting and style of the piece, or creating the most complimentary set of pearls for a strand, requires much expertise. By the time the jewelry makes it to the client, the pearls have been lovingly and purposefully guided through many stages. Pearls, like people, come with a unique history. This history influences and shapes the personal relationship the wearer has with their product for years to come.
The specific details of a pearl’s history, its resulting characteristics, and the overall quality of the gem are often complicated for a buyer to decipher.
As a ‘blind’ item, they are best purchased with the aid of an expert guide. For this reason, finding a broker whose knowledge and opinion the buyer trusts is arguably the most important component of the process. A good broker takes into account their client’s lifestyle and tastes when selecting the right piece. The final selection should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but fit effortlessly into the wearer’s life.
For this blog post, I thought I’d combine two of my favorite things, pearls and travel.
As my clients, friends, and family can attest, I absolutely love everything about traveling. From choosing the location, to finding the perfect places to stay, dine, and explore, the joy traveling affords me begins months before I actually leave for the trip. Although I love planning my own excursions, I especially enjoy helping friends and family plan their dream vacations. I’m excited to share some of my favorite jewelry themed travel recommendations as a part of the Lustre Blog.
One of my favorite cities to visit on the east coast is Philadelphia.
The city has a sophisticated food and art scene, an excellent selection of hotels, and a vibrant culture. It’s also home to one of my favorite paintings, Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge, by Mary Cassatt (see image above), which hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This captivating oil on canvas dates back to 1879. It depicts a chic young woman wearing a fabulous pearl choker at the opera. Although the artistry is magnificent, the subject’s glamour and enviable style are what truly draws me back time and time again.Should you find yourself in the city, I would recommend a visit to Ms. Cassatt’s masterpiece, followed by a trip to the Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room. While the hotel itself if a must see (and a great place to stay), the tea room is really its crown jewel. Stop in for their traditional high tea, which combines tasteful elegance with touches of cheeky humor. The ‘Marry Me Again’ signature tea is a personal favorite of mine.
Not up for the pageantry of high tea? A playful glass (or two!) of champagne and a couple of petit fours might hit the spot. Are cocktails more your thing? Ask the bartender to prepare you a Pearl Diver or a Pearl-tini, which are both made with Pearl Coconut Vodka, which is absolutely delicious. Whatever the case, the Rittenhouse is sure to please and is the perfect location to conclude your pearl themed day.
2 oz. Pearl Pomegranate Vodka
1 oz. Juarez Triple Sec
1 oz. Pomegranate or Cranberry Juice
Squeeze of Fresh Lime
Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
1-1/2 oz. Pearl Coconut Vodka
1 oz. Arrow Amaretto
4 oz. Orange Juice
Splash of Grenadine
Shake vodka, amaretto and orange juice well with ice in a shaker and strain into a tall glass half-filled with ice. Top with grenadine and garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Until next time,