At Coleman Douglas Pearls we are constantly inspired and in awe of the wonderful gift from nature that are pearls. In our recent blog post we explored the use of pearls within cinema and showcased five iconic films where pearls play a central role within the movies themselves. In today’s blog post we continue the theme of pearls in the arts and look at two works by the great Dutch baroque painter Johannes Vemeer and how he masterfully captures the brilliance of our favourite object.
One of the most popular artists of the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, Johannes Vemeer was born on the 31st of October in 1632 in Delft of the then Dutch Republic. Whilst little is known about his early life, the son of a middle-class silk maker took over operation of his father’s art business when he passed away. It is unclear whether or not Vermeer was self-taught or under whom he studied an apprenticeship but what we do know is the wonderful works of art that capture the domestic life across the society of the period. For a career that saw fewer than 50 paintings produced throughout the course of his life, Vemeer’s impact on art was quite remarkable. His extensive use of tones, style and techniques were unappreciated for more than 200 years after his death but, in the mid-nineteenth century a movement began that would finally show the master the appreciation that had eluded him.
Arguably his most famous work, Girl with a Pearl Earring is perhaps the most famous portrayal of pearls within art. Painted around 1665, the work features a girl wearing an exotic dress and turban who gazes towards her audience. Her steely yet inviting gaze punctuated by the large pearl object that delicately hangs from her ear. The joyous orb and outfit of the young lady are brilliantly rendered in soft, distinguishing colours that are drawn against the dark background of the subject. There has been great debate as to what Vermeer intends with the use of the pearl earring. The viewer only sees one side, the shape, a teardrop, may suggest an inner sorrow and the humble attire that she is dressed in may even hint towards the suggestion that the upper classes need to live a more modest life. Regardless of the interpretation that you have, the jewellery piece, despite its size, is a crucial component of the work and we must ask, could any other item of jewellery have been used? We think not. The pearl with its connotations of elegance, timelessness, exoticism and splendor truly is a stand alone item that defies substitution.
Painted around the mid 17th century, Women with a pearl necklace once again showcase Vemeer’s unique and incomparable style. The subject an upper-middle class lady as the centre figure of the work who is dressed in a splendid fur lined coat. In the process of getting ready, the woman is surrounded by opulence from her clothing to the ebony mirror and, of course, her fabulous pearl necklace. What we particularly enjoy about this work is the bright use of colour that contrasts, much like in The Girl with a Pearl Earring, with the dark background, The process of dressing with jewellery, and we are sure our readers will agree, is one of transformation; and the feeling one has when wearing a fabulous pearl necklace is simply without equal.
Pearls, prized throughout centuries, have been central to many societies and cultures and what we love about the aforementioned works is the mystique, opulence and elegance that pearl jewellery affords the wearer. Whilst styles of dress have changed, buffeted by the waves of fashion and time, one thing stands clear; pearl jewellery will always endure.
For more information about any of our pearl jewellery, to buy pearl jewellery online or to speak to a dedicated member of our pearl teams contact Coleman Douglas Pearls via email@example.com or on 0207 373 3369.
Pearls have, for centuries, inspired and intrigued. The natural splendour of the pearl has seen it become not only highly desirable within pearl jewellery but also part of the cultural vernacular that ties many across the globe together. Indeed, pearl jewellery has come to symbolise more than its parts and is a feature in the arts across music, painting, photography and film. In today’s blog we celebrate pearl jewellery with 5 iconic uses of pearl jewellery in film.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Perhaps one of, if not, the most iconic use of pearls and fashion in cinemagraphic history ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s gave the World the little black dress (a strapless Givenchy number to be precise). Not only did Audrey Hepburn look the part in her outfit but her matching jewellery has inspired women across the world for decades. The iconic outfit was complemented, or enhanced, by a stunning multi-strand pearl necklace complete with a Swarovski crystal brooch on the front. Timeless, elegant and utterly stunning, the pearl necklace perfectly aligned with the outfit and character.
The Great Gatsby
Following the world and life of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his pursuit of Daisy the love of his life pearls are featured throughout. Set in the 1920s and based on a novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald the film captures the elegance and opulence of the roaring 20s. Pearls come to symbolise materialism as, in one of the most memorable scenes, Daisy is given a 350,000 dollar necklace from her husband as a wedding gift the day before the wedding. Whatmore, the matching single string pearl bracelet and platinum diamond and pearl ring exude a sophisticated and debonair charm that match the spirit of the famous decade.
Five Wives Club
Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton play the main characters in the film which sees four friends given pearl necklaces on the day of their graduation. Following the suicide of one of the girls the characters seek to reconnect and take revenge on their husbands who all left them for younger women. The pearl necklaces in the film symbolise eternity and friendship in this 1996 comedy.
Girl With The Pearl Earring
Inspired by the life and work of famous Dutch Master painter Johannes Vermeer, the film chronicles the events that led to his famous painting of the same name. Featuring Scarlett Johansson as Griet, a servant in the household of Vermeer, and Colin Firth as the great Dutch Master the film explores themes of artistic brilliance, inspiration and friendship. Griet is the inspiration for the work, and who poses with the pearl earrings on her ears to finish the masterpiece.
The Devil Wears Prada
Maybe the most definitive films for fashionistas, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ sees Anne Hathaway play Andy, who is in dire need of a makeover. One of the most iconic of Andy’s looks in the film is her black and white outfit which mixes casual and formal elements effortlessly. To set off her glamorous and modern look her pearl jewellery comes to symbolise her transformation.
July is an exciting month in London as the sun rains down on the capital and the mood gently shifts to one of languid enjoyments in the balmy, bright streets. Aside from the promise of better weather and with it, generally better moods!, July sees the streets of SW19 swell with tennis and sporting aficionados coming together to celebrate The Championships, Wimbledon. Held annually between the 1st to the 14th of July, Wimbledon sees 128 of the very best male and female tennis players in the World compete at the historic venue. Established in 1877 Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the World and perhaps the most coveted. With prize money totalling £34 million, the tournament brings with it not only a boost financially but also the hallowed titles that it bestows. Wimbledon has a special place in the annals of Coleman Douglas Pearls history as the uncle of founder Chrissie Douglas’ mother was married to Dorothy Shepherd-Barron who played at the tournament and finished as a runner up in the doubles of in 1928 and as a winner in 1931. Dorothy also famously played with Charlie Chaplin too! To celebrate Wimbledon, we have chosen five of our pieces of pearl jewellery inspired by the colours of the historic event.
White (Clothing) As above
Wimbledon is famous for its strict dress code where players can only wear white clothing to complete. Indeed, the legendary Roger Federer fell foul of the rules and was forced to change his clothing as the soles of his shoes were orange. We have chosen our gorgeous petite cultured freshwater pearl stud earrings in white to represent the colour of Wimbledon.
Did you know that during the two weeks of the tournament some 166,055 portions of strawberries and cream will be consumed? Arguably the foodstuff most associated with the spectacle, strawberries and cream are a Great British Tradition. Our Cultured freshwater pearl on red silk bracelet is made up of pink and peacock black freshwater pearls arranged on strong strawberry red silk thread.
Tradition & Classic (Cream)
It is almost impossible for the weight of history not to hang over the competition that, for over a century and a half, has enthralled spectators and players. What could be more classic than our timeless Long Freshwater Pearl Necklace in White? The beautiful pearl necklace is made from round white cultured freshwater pearls and finished with a sterling silver ball clasp that allows the wearer to double the necklace. Perfect for both formal occasions and adaptable for more easy-going events. How would you wear it to Wimbledon?
Wimbledon is the only one of the four majors that takes place on a grass court. Trimmed to exactly 8mm each day, the grass courts have become the stage where dreams are made. To celebrate the beauty of the bright green grass we have chosen our Freshwater Pearl And Silk Necklace In Green. A fun and daring item, the necklace makes a wonderful addition to a bohemian look. Dress with a plain white t-shirt, a nod to the championships of course, and you are ready to go.
Taking place at the start of Summer, the radiant blue skies create a wonderful sensation of fans and players alike. We have chosen our Tahitian Pearl And Rainbow Moonstone Necklace to celebrate the (hopefully) clear skies. This stunning Tahitian cultured pearl and rainbow moonstone pippin necklace. Looks wonderful when worn as the Moonstone comes to life.
Take a flight time of over 10 hours, add in a total distance of 5,200 miles, sprinkle a dash of intrepid exploring and mix in a heavy dose of nostalgia and history. What is the result? Our founder Chrissie Douglas and husband Andrew’s recent trip to the Mar de Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) in search of the hallowed Perlas del Mar de Cortez, or Cortez Pearls, which, we are delighted to announce, will be on sale for the first time in London this year at Coleman Douglas Pearls.
Setting off from London, Chrissie and Andrew travelled to the Sonoran coast, after a wonderful journey through the sun drenched, cactus dotted Sonoran Desert. Greeted by the deep, inviting blue and turquoise hues of the Mar De Cortez, Chrissie and Andrew met with four marvelously passionate marine Biologists who are Perlas del Mar de Cortez.
Formed in 1996 with the objective of beginning a commercial cultivation of the “Concha Nácar” or “Rainbow lipped Pearl Oyster” [Pteria sterna oyster] Perlas Del Mar de Cortez consists of a small group of specialist marine biologists who are experts in the cultivation of these bivalve mollusks. Their experience in the experimental cultivation of other species like oysters, the “lion’s paw scallop” (Lyropecten subnudosus), the “catarina scallop” (Aequipecten circularis) and pearl oysters, motivated them to begin this commercial adventure, blending centuries old practices with advanced technology and research.
The company harvests half pearls or mabés, cultured pearls and Keshi pearls. All these have a fundamental characteristic, the quality of the incomparable mother pearl that has distinguished the native Pteria sterna pearls from the Gulf of California. These pearl farmers make extraordinary efforts to guarantee that the final product has the best quality, a good nacre coating and caring for the oysters so that after implanting the animals, nature creates its own miracle: the pearls.
What makes these ethically sourced and sustainable pearls so attractive is not just their luster or beauty. The operation ran by Perlas del Mar de Cortez guides the entire process from seeding to growth and finally handpicked harvesting by local Guaymas’ workers from a former Yaqui neighborhood. These workers inherit in their blood the well-known strength of the Yaqui tribe, the same native people that the Spanish Conquistadors employed to fish the pearl oysters from this bountiful sea. Indeed, it was during harvest season when Chrissie Douglas, our pearl Jewellery designer, and her husband, Andrew, arrived and they had the opportunity to take part in the harvest; a truly a once in a lifetime experience. The unrefined, vibrant scenery juxtaposed with the delicate harvest of the pearls. The gentle swell cascading over the rocky coast, the warming salty breeze from the tropical sea and the local seagulls and pelicans all transported our team to another world and another time.
Mexico also represented a personal connection to our founder, as she grew up and spent much of her youth in the district of Coyoacan in Mexico City, once Home to one of the best-known worldwide icons within Mexico, painter Frida Kahlo. The trip to Mexico saw Chrissie and Andrew wander the stone washed streets of Coyoacan again, visiting local markets, meeting old school friends at a special reunion and visiting La Casa de La Torre where the works of her father hang. The magic of their journey, which hasn’t ended just yet, will be on display as we proudly bring the Cortez Pearls to London in our handmade jewellery. It will be the very first time these iridescent orbs will be sold in the United Kingdom.
30 years ago the world was very different to how it is today. The rapid advances in technology and society have led to vast enhancements in the lives of many across the globe. Indeed, why is the number 30 so special to Coleman Douglas Pearls? Because in 1989 Coleman Douglas Pearls first opened its doors to the public. Founded by Chrissie Douglas a pearl specialist, designer and the driving force behind this vibrant international pearl jewellery brand who,over the years, Chrissie has come to symbolise her beloved brand.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Coleman Douglas Pearls, we held a special party that united both lifelong and recent clients in a celebration of all things pearls. Guests were greeted at our Knightsbridge boutique by champagne, elegant canapes, and Prestat Fine Truffles (hand selected by Chrissie herself). The 30th party saw a coming together of the fundamentals that Coleman Douglas Pearls represents with history and tradition mingling with expertise, design, craftsmanship and elegance.
Clients from all over the World visited the boutique, some as far as South Africa, a testament to the faithfulness of Coleman Douglas Pearls’ clients and the marker of a Pearl anniversary for a pearl-centric company of 30 years.
Founder Chrissie took the opportunity to thank clients for their custom over the years and her industry leading knowledge as well as her amicable character and passion for pearls was on show as she advised clients as to their optimal pearl colours and styles. Several guests, who had bought pearl jewellery items over 20 years ago, came with their pearl necklaces, or pearl bracelets so that Chrissie could further advise them by matching them to the perfect match in pearl earrings and in some cases pearl rings !
There was a professional photographer on hand to capture the many cameos of this special party and to take personal portraits of each guest to record their very own #mycdpearls moment.
Chrissie and all at Coleman Douglas Pearls would like to raise a flute of champagne and thank all those who attended our 30th anniversary party and in particular for all of their support and custom over the years.
Early Summer is truly a thing of joy as the weather moves from the cooler tones of Spring into the warmer, more welcoming heat of Summer. This year, being the 30th anniversary of Coleman Douglas Pearls, has been punctuated by a pearl celebration event that has taken place in conjunction with Royal Warrant holder department store Fortnum & Masons.
Should you have strolled the jewellery halls of this British institution just off of St.James’ then you would have seen our precious selection of pearl jewellery on display. From the end of May to the 2nd of July, Coleman Douglas Pearls were present at Fortnum’s where a showcase of our works were given centre stage. The collaboration witnessed a designer focus on Coleman Douglas Pearls and June was crowned the ‘Month of Pearls’ On display were the five foundations of Coleman Douglas Pearls, a veritable celebration of the expertise and craftsmanship within each item of jewellery.
Indeed, the ongoing presence culminated with an evening hosted at Fortnums where both new and existing clients of Coleman Douglas Pearls in attendance. So popular was the event that the guest list on the Fortnum and Masons website was oversubscribed within a week! Champagne, chocolate truffles and pearls greeted guests at the evening where members of the public were given the opportunity to meet with members of Coleman Douglas Pearls team all in the beautiful, oak clad surroundings of Fortnums.
If you missed out on seeing our works at Fortnums there is still time to pop in, enjoy the surroundings and view our pieces of pearl jewellery. For more information, contact our Knightsbridge team via firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0) 207 373 3369.
Our 30th anniversary celebration continues with our Pearl Anniversary Party on 26th June from 12 noon until 9 pm in our Knightsbridge studio. Please come and celebrate with us as we reflect on our past, revel in the present and look forward to the future!
To mark the occasion, we invite you to bring along your favourite Coleman Douglas Pearls design and we would love to photograph it on you for our 30th Anniversary Photo Album which we will display in the studio. Please let us know if you can make it by calling 020 7373 3369 or emailing email@example.com.
As a small thank you for your support, we are offering a bespoke CDP/30 years silver jewellery tag that can be added to any CDP designed piece purchased throughout our anniversary year with a value over £380.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
We won 'Independent Retailer of the Year' at the Kensington and Chelsea Business Awards. Our award was presented by the Cadogan Estate who played an important role in judging the category Independent Retailer of the Year. Come and celebrate with us!
Join us for a joyous Christmas shopping event filled with the sparkle of Champagne, canapés, macaroons and an exclusive CDP goody bag to take home. We also offer 10% discount on all your purchase on the day.
Do stop by our neighbours in Beauchamp Place as they too will be in Party mode.
We were named ‘Independent Retailer of the Year’ at the Kensington and Chelsea Business Awards.
Our category award was presented by the Cadogan Estate who had played an important role in judging of the Independent Retailer of the year.
“Coleman Douglas Pearls is a most impressive enterprise, being an international brand since 1989. The proprietor has a deep knowledge of her products with continual training of her staff, driven towards becoming ‘masters of the craft’.” - Caroline Jennings, Cadogan
The first ever Kensington & Chelsea Business Awards were hosted by the Kensington & Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and aimed to recognise and reward the achievements of the local business community across the whole of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Due to popular demand we invite you to our in-house Champagne Pearl talks on 16th of November.
The talk will take place in our studio where Chrissie Douglas will be sharing her passion for pearls, discover where and how pearls are made, their history, the various types of pearls available and how to tell the difference between imitation, cultured and natural pearls.
To ensure maximum personal attention we cap the attendance at 12 people, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 373 3369 to book your place.