Cheryl King Couture Luxury Accessories

Cheryl King Couture Luxury Accessories
Luxurious Accessories made with love in America

Friday, May 28, 2010

And we laughed...

A few years ago (OK, maybe a little more than a few!) I was in my early-mid 30's and went to the Clarins counter at the mall.  I'd gotten to know the lady behind the counter, and we became chummy.  (In case you are not aware, I am a certified cosmetics junkie, and at this time a die hard Clarins addict.)  I would go in about once a month, and she'd give me a wonderful facial and show me products that I simply could not survive on this earth without.

Let's just call the associate "Kim" to protect those who are innocent.

While indulging in said facial, "Kim" told me a very funny story.  She spoke of her manager who was in her mid 40's, and although obviously pampered the skin on her face and body, began to show signs of aging.  The manager had gone to a sales meeting and was asked if she just arrived at work.  With a questioning face, she said that she had been at work for hours.  "Oh," the man said, "It looks like you just woke up."

Said manager went into the restroom to look in the mirror, and to her chagrin there were still pillow marks on her face!

Ah, the joys of vanishing collagen.  Well, "Kim" and I just laughed and laughed at this incredible story.

Karma has entered my world, folks.  Beware of what you laugh at today, for tomorrow you may carry around your pillowcase wrinkles all day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flowers everywhere!

Well, flowers are in bloom everywhere in wedding accessories!  From petite and subtle pieces to lavish floral accessories, this trend is here to stay for awhile.

Our "Rose Garden" hatinator has been wildly successful, with very large silk, organdy and velvet petals accented by feather wisps floating upon feathered layers of illusion creating a hat effect.

"Eileen" is more demure with a smaller version of the flower in "Rose Garden," yet still dramatic in its own right.

"Dorothy" combines many elements for a fresh take on a floral piece, with French illusion wisps, jeweled centered flowers, and beaded swirl accents.

Whatever your style, there is sure to be a flower accent for you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pearl Luster, Overtone and Matching


Luster is the brightness and clarity of the reflection of the light through the many layers of the nacre of the pearl.  If layers are applied uniformly by the mollusk, with few impurities or disruptions to the layering pattern, light can reach more deeply into the pearl and reflect back outwards in a brighter, more coherent (clear) reflection.  The more impurities or broken  layers, the fuzzier the reflection will be.  This is, by most gemologists' standards, the most critical point in judging the beauty, rarity and value of a pearl.


Overtone is the secondary color of a pearl.  A pearl may have a neutral or silver overtone, as seen in the pearl in the middle in the photo, but oftentimes pearls will have hints of either pink or green, as shown to either side of the neutral pearl.


Matching is a direct indicator of how much time, care and effort was invested in creating a fine piece of jewelry.  Even for simple stud earrings, "true twins" are very rare, simply because between two pearls even slight differences are more visible!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pearl Sizes and Colors

Pearls are measured in diameter in units of millimeters.  Freshwater pearls usually measure between 4.0 mm - 10.0 mm, as seen on the left.  All else equal (luster, surface quality, shape, etc.), large pearls do command a much higher value than small pearls.  The large pearl as seen on the bottom took 6 years to create.  Good roundness is contingent on the mollusk itself repeatedly making consistent and uniform coatings over the same pearl for however long the farmer nucleates.  It's a great risk to let the nucleation continue for so many years, as one bad storm could destroy an entire crop in a matter of hours.  For the pearl farmer, there is also considerable financial investment involved in waiting longer to harvest the pearls and take them to market.


Surprisingly, pearls naturally occur in a grand variety of bright and beautiful colors. The majority of any given harvest is either white or cream, however, often found are peach, lavender, purple, and, to a lesser degree, pink. The rarer colors include blue, green, and gold. The rarest "color" we have ever found we have named "true mirror", as the body color is overtaken by the highest degree of luster we have ever seen in the world, to the extent that we honestly cannot tell what color it would have been had it been an average pearl. Out of the millions of pearls which have passed before our eyes, we have found only two "true mirror" pearls. 

courtesy Kiyojo

Monday, May 24, 2010

Post Harvest

Post Harvest

First the pearls are thoroughly washed and disinfected,  then broadly separated into three groups:

Use:  Powderized and recycled 
as nutrient for pearl farms

Use:  Cosmetics, Chinese medicines 
and low-end jewelry


Use:  Further sorting and matching is 
required to create pearl jewelry

courtesy Kiyojo

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pearl Farming

What is Pearl Farming?

Pearl Farms are natural bodies of water used to raise mollusks or oysters for the purpose of culturing pearls.  The mollusks are placed in protective cages and suspended in water by balloons or netting.  The pearl farmers keep the water free of pollutants, regulate the nutrients in the water, and watch over the health of the mollusks.  Pictured above is Cheryl King at one of the local pearl farms. 

Pearls may be nucleated for a period spanning 2 to 6 years.  The longer left underwater, the larger the pearl becomes.

But if larger pearls are more valuable, why not wait 6 years for all crops?  Factors such as climate, weather, environment, mollusk health, and market demands all play a role in deciding the right time to harvest.

The longer the mollusk is kept underwater, the higher the chance something could go wrong, and the lower the chance that the resulting pearl, after countless coatings of nacre, is round.  Indeed, sometimes smaller pearls, if all other quality indicators are present, are more rare and valuable than oddly shaped larger ones.  

Freshwater Pearl Composition


Nacre, the material which comprises a pearl, is chemically known as calcium carbonate.  Nacre platelets are emited from the mollusk and bond over the surface of the pearl via an organic bonding agent known as conchiolin.  This gradual layering effect can be seen in this microscopic image.

courtesy Kiyojo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Asian Origins of Freshwater Pearls

Chinese historical records dating from 2300 B.C. tell of pearls being given to royalty, although record of the initial discovery is quite unknown. Pearls have been prized throughout both Western and Eastern history as gems of rarity, value and beauty, reserved for high royalty and nobility.

To the left, shell pearls in the image of Buddha can be seen as an example of historical Chinese ingenuity in the practice of pearl culturing.

Image Courtesy: American Museum of Natural Science and Royal Ontario Museum

courtesy Kiyojo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Freshwater Pearl Creation


In tissue-nucleated freshwater pearl culturing, the creation of a pearl requires two mollusks, a donor and a host. A small piece of mantle tissue, taken from the donor mollusk, is inserted into the host mollusk. As well known in urban legend, the introduction of a foreign object stimulates the production of nacre, or pearl essence, from the host mollusk. The nacre is emited in platelets which bond over the surface of the object, forming a series of crystalline layers, as can be seen in the photo to the right.

Discovery of Pearl Culturing

The art of "culturing" a pearl was discovered in 1893 by a Japanese named Kokichi Mikimoto. He began selling his cultured pearls in 1899 in the world-famous shopping district of Ginza, Edo(modern-day Tokyo). Cultured pearls were an innovation which took many long years full of scientific challenges and cultural barriers to their acceptance as authentic. By the early 1900's, Mikimoto's long labor was eventually recognized for it's genius and his pearl cultuing techniques are now utilized all over the world(but mainly within Asia) to generate over 98% of the world's pearl supply.

courtesy Kiyojo

We've arrived!

Finally, we've entered the world of blogging! Although a bit intimidating, we hope to be able to provide more detailed information than we do on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We'll delve into choosing the best headpiece and veil for different body types and formalities, as well as some interesting details on freshwater pearls, etc. Enjoy!