Having a Clue – About pearls


If you are not that cluey about pearls and are really confused about the array and diverse varieties of pearls and pearl jewellery out there today, your best bet is finding a trader or designer that knows at bit about the world’s most beloved organic gem – the gem of the water. The Pearl!

It can be very confusing to the novice and this is why my mission is always to make everyone understand the basic differences of fresh and sea water pearls. Here’s the best tip. Usually the price ticket relates directly to the quality of the pearls or the pearl jewellery. If we are talking thousands from a reputable outlet then you can bet, you are looking at quality sea water pearls. If you look at a seller online selling pearls for under $55 then you are probably looking at something that has questionable quality and could be inferior fresh water pearls. Makes sense no?

The first to mass produce small round pearls were the Japanese Mikimoto pearls. These were small 4,5, to 7 mm, quickly developed cultured pearls, with tiny nuclei. Funnily the 89 year old Mikimoto imported the mother of pearl seeds needed to cultivate these pearls from America – the Mississippi River where it passes Iowa. Not much natural nacre developed on the outer surface of these small pearls but the sales for these pearls were more popular than any export Japan had to offer. We can almost say it saved a nation! Most of these necklaces were not knotted (saved time and money and kept the necklaces inexpensive from USD20 -130) and were graduated with a few larger ones at the center. They were the first company to offer pearls to the  general public and became popular post war especially with the surge of American soldiers present in the South Pacific who had their pay to spend on their Mums or girlfriends back home. This then, began the shift of the pearl, being accessible to, not just royalty, gentry and the extremely wealthy but for the newly growing middle classes, who thrived post WWII.

Australian’s White South Sea Pearl and the Black Tahitian Pearls are both salt water pearls and the world’s most desirable organic gems. The golden Pearl of the Indonesian waters are also Pearls to treasure and behold, but not often do you see a baroque gold pearl. Baroque is the look of a naturally formed pearl that are not perfect spheres. Usually the most expensive pearls are fully developed round pearls with no imperfections. Good luck finding any and the average person could most definitely not afford to buy one. There is a very special market for natural baroque pearls or drop pearls that have a history like the pearl worn by Mary of Scots and then later acquired by Elizabeth Taylor the peregrina.

I have mentioned previously in my blog that usually the colour of the sand of the area where the pearls are cultivated, directly influences the outcome of the colour of their grown pearl. Shape is also a thought here and many of the world’s loveliest Keshi’s come from Indonesia. There is also the cave amoeba pearls which I just love but this article will be never ending if I mention every shape and variety of pearl.

Most South Sea Pearls are from 9 mm up averaging at about 14 mm but it’s the freshwater pearl that I love and work with daily. These too come in larger sizes around 12 mm, of late and are increasing all the time, as the fresh-water pearl farmers learn more about their crops and leave the pearls to rest longer, than was usually the case. This then of course must see a rise in the price of the freshwater pearl. The Chinese have dominated the world’s freshwater pearl industry and therefore have mass produced pearls, leaving we older more established Labels scrambling to find good quality stock, as many of the good pearls today have been bought up by other larger retail stores.

Although the sea pearl fetches the highest price, it is what you can do with a freshwater pearl that made me fall in-love with this genus. Fresh or sweet water Pearls have much more layers of nacre than the sea pearl and to me you get much more value for money for a freshwater pearl.

Enter – Julleen – a small label but has always offered our customers, the very finest quality for the price bracket.  At the end of the day I like to think of servicing people who really want an original piece of pearl jewellery that is affordable.

Julleen Pearl Jewellery – Est.1998

Julleen Pearl Jewellery Designs was born from a lust of all things pearl. Love of pearls is not new. Women have been imprisoned for the desire to possess pearls. Men have hanged by the neck for stealing them and drowned at sea by risking their lives to find them. Rulers of kingdoms have sacrificed much, all for the love of pearls.

My gift luckily, is that I can visualize a design in my head and then go about making it and so for me, after finding the right pearl, the design grows and becomes one of the most important aspects of my label Julleen. Therefore design has value and the use of only organic gems and metals is hugely important.


Also luckily I know a good pearl when I see it and for over a decade now I have used my experience, to make interesting and very different jewellery designs. This is why my designs are in a middle ground pricing. You can see my pieces are hand-made but I try to make each model look like it came from the best jewellery makers anywhere.

People need to choose the right dealer and someone who knows the business. Hopefully with my blog some of you have become aware of the differences between the quick turnover pearl jewellery that breaks or the pearl jewellery that I make where the quality of the pearl I use and design around, ensures the pieces last, for a life time.

What ever the design. I am sure that many of you know you are getting genuine pearls with the Julleen brand and that the added bonus is, all Julleen Pearl Jewellery is guaranteed permanently. Having a clue is important – when talking about pearls.



The Emeralds of Catherine The Great Sold at Auction

As a admirer of large Emeralds, I was interested to read a article in Jewellery World Magazine, that mentioned a 107.67 carat Emerald and Diamond Necklace once owned by Catherine the Great which was sold at Christies for 3.3 million Pounds Sterling.

In 1874 Tsar Alexandra II presented the stone to his newly wed daughter in-law The Grand Duchess Vladamir who was well known for her incredible jewellery collection and her penchant for gambling at cards. After fleeing Russia to Venice when the revolution began in 1918, the grand duchess fled wearing only her daily jewels like strings of pearls it was said, and landed in Venice. Later her fabulous collection, left behind in her homeland was still in tact and miraculously appeared in London where her son was at the time. The jewels had been smuggled out, by a sympathetic British officer, no doubt a good friend of the family and very trustworthy.

Emeralds -of-Catherine-the-Great-Julleen-Pearls ringsx

Some of The Grand Duchess’s jewellery is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth, whose grandmother, bought some pieces from impoverished Russian aristocracy.



Flawless Shirley Temple Blue Diamond Sale for Millions

Bought for the young Shirley Temple by her father as an investment for her when Shirley was 12, in 1940, this 9.54 ct flawless blue diamond was set in platinum. Shirley wore this diamond her entire life. Mr Temple paid the enormous price at the time of $7,210.


The ring held by her estate after she died in 2014, was bought privately. Two years after the buyers put it up for auction at Sotheby’s hoping to reach 25-35 million. When it didn’t not meet the reserve and was passed in the ring was acquired by the jewellery dealers Windsor Jewellers, who took the chance to re-cut the flawless jewel.

The outcome was a 9.3 carat richer blue, diamond which will be forever known as the blue diamond that was loved and worn by the great Shirley Temple.

Ladies Wearing Pearls in Pompeii

Yesterday I was discussing a little of the history regarding the wearing of pearls by women through the ages. I mentioned that there had been discoveries of art found in ruins from the ancient Roman and Greek times in the first century. I was pleased to find some images of well preserved murals and floor mosaics that were uncovered in the ruins of Pompeii showing just what I had hoped to see. Ladies wearing pearls.

These woman must have cut handsome figures during her life in the ancient city and we are lucky enough centuries later to see how women adorned themselves in their finery, including pearls (seen here).

ON 24th August AD79 Mt Vesuvius erupted with fire and lava, spreading molt in every direction, yet not over the actual city Pompeii. 2000 died from asphyxiation. Weirdly enough, the mix, of volcanic ash and mud is what entombed them  preserving them for centuries until the remains were unearthed in 1748.


Who Knew That an 88 Carat Diamond would sell at auction for over $13 million

An absolutely glorious oval cut diamond weighing 88 carat was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong just recently for a whopping $14 million. Only two similar sized ones at around the 50 carat mark have been auctioned before but not for this past 5 years. The Japanese purchaser called it “Manami Star” after his daughter and it is considered to be lucky, because the weight at 88! is a very highly regarded number in Asian countries.

88 is said to symbolize perfection and eternity and of course this stunning gem is particularly prized for it’s outstanding symmetry. It took several painstaking months of grinding and polishing to capture the perfect cut for this diamond. Can you imagine if your hand quivered for an instant and you ground one little section to the left or the right. Coming from a very long line spanning 100 years of diamond cutters, I know from family, that the slip of the wrist can dictate the quality of the cut of a diamond, my grand Aunt was one of the best diamond cutters until her death in the early 1960’s.

Yes extraordinary gems such as these are cut by someone outstandingly gifted in the industry. Knowing exactly how to start and to figure out exactly where to cut first is a huge responsibility. Then having the patience needed to see it through to it’s magnificent completion over months of careful planning and precision cutting. Phew! Beads of sweat are forming on my forehead just thinking about it  

Diamonds are cut so that a light ray falling on the gem is reflected multiple times inside the diamond and therefore sends out light in all directions. Actually, diamonds don’t shine, they reflect.

Reviews on Etsy


It’s great for small businesses to be on Etsy. The reaction to my little E-Tail store there has been surprisingly good. Buyers need to have confidence in your product and how you get that confidence is by purchasers leaving their reviews. What I am finding a bit frustrating is that my buyers who all say they love their purchases do not often leave a review. Seems like 50% leave one whilst the others want to but get confused as to how to do this.

I therefore want to say if you are a member of Etsy. This is how you leave a Review. At the top right of the page (when you are logged on) you’ll see a “You” Left click on that you, then left click on “Purchases and Reviews”. Then chose the item you paid for and leave that review.