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Where It All Began – The Story Behind Coleman Douglas Pearls

  • 4 min read

Where It All Began – The Story Behind Coleman Douglas Pearls

Coleman Douglas Pearls is renowned for pearl expertise, stunning pearl jewellery and a truly personal service. That reputation has been years in the making, from the crowning of the ‘Pearl Queen’ to a visit from the Royal Family. Read on as we take a closer look at the story behind Coleman Douglas Pearls...

A Pearl Treasury - Online & By Appointment

Coleman Douglas Pearls was founded by Chrissie Douglas, a pearl specialist, designer and driving force behind this vibrant international pearl jewellery brand. Specialising in natural and cultured pearls, and combining unique designs, bespoke items are carefully designed and crafted by the Coleman Douglas Pearls team to suit their owner. Today, clients can buy specially selected and hand-crafted pearl jewellery online, or arrange a bespoke in-person appointment. 

Chrissie Crowned The ‘Pearl Queen’

Chrissie Douglas was born in Mexico to two famous artists. Here she was exposed to creativity and the discipline of good design from an early age - no wonder colour is one of her greatest inspirations, the key that defines the bold combination of playfulness, wearability and daily glamour. Her ancestors also include Alfred Smith, the pearl specialist and owner of A&J Smith Jewellers in Aberdeen. Alfred would spend hours fishing for natural freshwater pearls in Scotland. Pouring over his hand-drawn designs sparked Chrissie’s life-long love affair with pearls, inspiring her to study their history and tradition within jewellery.

In 1989, Chrissie, whilst pregnant, began experimenting with pearls. She started Coleman Douglas Pearls aged 29, mixing pearls with semi-precious stones and other more unusual materials like leather, silk and wood.

Chrissie’s designs were clearly resonating with people when Lucia Van Der Post crowned her the “Pearl Queen” in “How To Spend It” for the Financial Times. From that moment on she has never looked back, soon making bespoke jewellery and wholesaling her designs globally, especially to Japan, the USA and the UK; and showcasing in Harrods, Liberty of London and Fortnum & Mason.

An authority on pearls

Chrissie is acknowledged as a leading authority in the field of pearls. She was a named designer for Iridesse, founded by Tiffany & Co. Her designs are also on permanent exhibition at the Earth Treasury section of the Natural History Museum in London, and Coleman Douglas Pearl designs were part of the Natural History Museum of New York’s world touring ‘Pearls’ exhibition.

Four innovative pearl design ranges

Chrissie’s aim has always been to offer investment and style, utilising her expert pearl knowledge coupled with an excellent network of suppliers. Her innovative and fresh use of pearls with semi-precious stones, and other more unusual materials, enabled her to create four ranges – ClassicBridal, Warrior, and Fine Jewellery. Coleman Douglas Pearls also offersdesign bespoke service, where Chrissie couples her expertise with your unique design to create a piece that tells your story.

“I create what I like to wear. It must be comfortable, versatile, unfussy, yet also tell a story - wearable art. The part I enjoy most is matching each client to their perfect pearl colour and shape; the lustre of a pearl literally “lights-up” your face, enhancing your natural beauty.” Chrissie Douglas

As a family-run business Coleman Douglas Pearls has become the “family jeweller” for many of their clients, they have never advertised, growing through word of mouth alone. As such, Coleman Douglas Pearls has a private customer base and a handpicked range of retail stockists internationally, including high end jewellers, bespoke boutiques and specialised department stores such as Fortnum & Masons.

Chosen by Harley-Davidson

Coleman Douglas Pearls was commissioned by Perles de Tahiti to create three distinctly different pearl jewellery collections that would defy the conventional concept of the ‘Twin Set and Pearls’ look, with designs working on the Warrior Pearls theme.

These designs were chosen by Harley-Davidson motorcycles in London to celebrate their 100 anniversary at a celebrity studded party. Chrissie also created a dramatic torso cover in South Sea Pearls for the “White Magic” South Sea Pearls Consortium exhibition.

Celebrity endorsements and on-screen appearances

Coleman Douglas Pearls was extensively featured in Woody Allen’s film “Match Point”. More recent films include “The Debt” with Helen Mirren and “Chalet Girl” with Brooke Shields. Coleman Douglas Pearls designs are seen on Patricia Hodge, the on screen mother in the romantic comedy “Miranda” and the detective series of “Lewis”.

Clients include royalty, state figureheads, other designers and media celebrities, including:

  • Kristen Scott Thomas
  • Helen Mirren
  • Jerry Hall
  • Grace Jones
  • Julie Walters
  • Halle Berry
  • Flora Montgomery
  • Bette Midler
  • Anna Chancellor
  • Romola Garai
  • Rachel Hunter Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Amelia Fox
  • Hannah Sandling
  • Santa Sebag Montefiore
  • Sam Fox
  • Nicola Benedetti
  • Twiggy
  • John Shepherd

Design and marketing awards

Coleman Douglas Pearls won an award for the ‘Warrior Collection’ and twinning pearls and leather in a barbed wire effect at the Perles de Tahiti UK design competition, which followed a three-year winning streak at the Tahitian Pearl Design awards in the UK. Those accolades were for design and innovative marketing. Chrissie’s designs were not only acclaimed in Europe, but also in the USA where she also won a double award at the US Perles de Tahiti Award held in New York. In addition to design accolades Coleman Douglas Pearls has been recognized for their innovation in the field of marketing pearls.

Sharing a passion for pearls

Chrissie has shared her passion for pearls with audiences for the V&A Education program, the global Young Presidents' Organization , the Gemmological Association in London and the Gemmological Institute of America, alongside special edition events at Relais and Chateaux venues.

Princess Anne visits Coleman Douglas Pearls

Princess Anne visited the Coleman Douglas Pearls showroom in her capacity as Patron of UK Fashion Exports, in recognition of the innovative way in which pearls had been promoted by Chrissie Douglas.

While Coleman Douglas Pearls designs are regularly featured in fashion magazines globally, Chrissie’s designs still retain that essential element of moving with the times – challenging the perceptions of pearls as antiquated and out-dated with a selection of cutting-edge collections.

Get better acquainted with Coleman Douglas Pearls

With a history spanning several decades, Coleman Douglas Pearls is a long-standing expert for pearls. We pair this expertise with a truly personal service and a vast collection of natural and cultured pearls, to help customers find the pearl jewellery that is perfect for them.

“Ultimately, pearl jewellery is about character: glamour, passion and humour – of the craftsman, the designer and the woman who will ultimately wear it, creating jewellery for remarkable women.” Chrissie Douglas.

To arrange an appointment at our London showroom simply contact us online at cdp@pearls.co.uk.

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