Pearls of passion
Custom jewelers create unique wedding bling
A breathtaking strand of Tahitian pearls will become a family heirloom.
Pearls and brides have been linked for millennia. It is said that Khrishna, in 1000 B.C., brought forth pearls from the sea to give to his daughter on her wedding day. Ancient Greeks gave pearls to brides, also, but with different sentiments: They thought pearls would prevent brides from crying!
Today's brides will be anything but tearful (unless overwhelmed) when they see the magnificent pearls matched and strung by Sonoma Valley jewelers.
Take the extraordinary Peacock strand of Tahitian pearls designed by Leslie Tribe, of Spirits in Stone, on the Sonoma Plaza. The luminous colors of each pearl-hot magenta, shimmery turquoise, aurora borealis greens-reflect the tropical lagoons where they grow inside the uncommon, behemoth, black-lipped oyster, pinctada margaritifera.
An added distinction of this particular necklace is that all the pearls are matched in size and form rhythmic stanzas of repeating color. It can take more than ten years to find the right pearls for such meticulous composition.
This strand also conceals a unique two-way clasp that allows you to add a variety of centerpieces for different standout looks.
Jeweler and gemologist Gillian Inskeep has created another equally spectacular strand of natural keshi saltwater pearls from Japan. The keshi is often irregular in shape. The large roundish ones in the necklace on top are doubly blessed. Beautiful on their own in tones of cream and gold, here they are inlaid with subtle sparkle in the form of .75 carats of aquamarine, amethyst, blue zircon, yellow and white diamonds, green and pink sapphires, and rubies.
The Inskeep necklace is available at Cornerstone Jewelers, also on the Sonoma Plaza, for $12,000.
But what of a bride who's not into bold and flashy? What of a woman with a quieter, more serene demeanor?
"Harvest Moon," by local designers Fritz & Mischell, might just be the thing to complement her subtle allure. This piece is deeply romantic-one perfect South Sea pearl, luminous, swirling with subtle pastels, to indicate the oneness of your union-and a scattering of diamond stars that speaks of the blessings and mysteries of the heavens. All set in rich 18-karat gold. This piece alone could inspire poetic wedding vows.
All fine jewelry by Fritz & Mischell is handmade, without molds, so each piece is slightly different and will be yours alone. The "Petal" earrings will not only delight bridesmaids who receive them as gifts, but will also be an enduring reminder of the meaning of your wedding.
Charles "Fritz" Pearce attended Rhode Island School of Design and earned the goldsmith Meister at the Goldschmiedeschule mit Uhrmacherschule in Pforzheim, Germany. Mischell Maldonado attended the Gemological Institute of America.
The gold they use is recycled; diamonds are "conflict-free." Harvest Moon necklace, $2,200. Earrings $500. Contact details for Fritz & Mischell are on their Web site, www.3arts-studio.com.
From the Summer 2009 issue of SONOMA