"First, I look at the skin under a client's wrist," explains pearl expert Chrissie Coleman Douglas, turning over my hand under the natural light shining into her Beauchamp place store, where I've come to have my skin tone matched with pearls. It's an intuitive science; she credits her artist parents with giving her a heightened sense of colour.
"I might twin a pearl with eye colour, or be influenced by a lip undertone or skin pigmentation," she continues, "but never hair colour, because that can change." Darker skin, she says, looks a million dollars against strong gold, whereas dark grey or warm pink is phenomenal with pale complexions - "but only if she has brown eyes ." She promises that when you place the right pearl next to your face, it's the equivalent of turning on the light in a room. Pearls, though, are not for jewellery show-offs. "The point isn't for the jewellery to stand out," Coleman Douglas tells me, "but to attract attention to the wearer's face." Carol Woolton from Vogue 2018 interview with Chrissie Douglas.