These Aren’t Your Grandma’s Pearls

Posted by Francoise El Hag on


Pearls are the perfect, malleable medium for today’s always-changing fashions. But don’t mistake some of today’s modern pearls with Grandmother’s simple strands. By adding a little high tech, color and carvings, you take a classic piece of jewelry straight into the 21st century. With these changes, today’s pearls are appealing to a new generation that is discovering their beauty and luster, while enjoying some amazing new characteristics.

If you think that pearls can’t be high tech, you’d be wrong. One designer in California, Chi Huynh of Galatea Jewelry by Artist, is known for creating numerous variations on the cultured pearl. His latest invention (patent pending) is called Momento Pearl. To create this innovative piece, Huynh inserted a tiny near-field communication (NFC) chip into a cultured pearl. When you use it in combination with the company’s proprietary Galatea App, you can upload voice and text messages, images, and web links. Simply tap the pearl against an Android phone to hear the voice message and see what has been uploaded.

Want a little color in your pearl? Huynh has also patented a cultured pearl with a colored stone bead inside. When the pearl exterior or nacre (pronounced “nayker”) is carved, the color is revealed. Described as one of the g greatest developments in pearl culturing since Kokichi Mikimoto invented the process in the early 1920s, the “Galatea Pearl” is one of the rarest pearls in the world. They are available as pendants, earrings, and rings in 14k gold.

If pearls as art is more to your taste, why not carve pearls like marble to make miniature sculptures? Hand-carving pearls have always been a hallmark of Huynh’s Galatea jewelry designs. More than 75 percent of the company’s jewelry use carved pearls rather than the more traditional smooth-surfaced pearls. Normally, pearls are valued for their color, luster, (the “shine” on its exterior), uniform, and blemish-free surface. Huynh revolutionized traditional beliefs about cultured pearls, calling his carved pearls, “Pearls without Boundaries.” They may not be for those who prefer a classic pearl, but that’s what makes these new pearl designs so appealing to a younger audience.

And speaking of that younger generation, the company’s “King Pearls,” are large, dark Tahitian pearls with unique carvings depicting dragons, dolphins, crosses, and other modern designs.

All in all, pearls are enjoying a renaissance and are finding a place center stage with fashionistas, and reemerging from the jewelry box. And Galatea is just the company to do it.

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