Contemporary pearls for the wedding season by Rok Chix
Grace Kelly famously wore them, and now that wedding season is just around the corner so will many brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests. We're talking about pearls, of course.
Pearls have been associated with weddings for many years and are often worn as jewellery by brides or sewn into bridal gowns. White pearls in particular are a symbol of purity and innocence. The pearl is also the birthstone for those born in the month of June - which is traditionally the busiest wedding month of the year.
The fact that the lustre of pearls is incredibly flattering for the complexion also means they are an obvious choice for the big day. Or indeed for any occasion when you want your skin to glow.
But if those old-fashioned pearls your great-grandmother wore has put you off, think again. At Rok Chix thier natural, freshwater pearl pieces are designed very much with the 21st century woman in mind.
No bride should be without a pair of classic pearl earrings, and the Rok Chix Large Pearl and Silver Earrings, £25 - which feature plump, creamy freshwater pearls hung on long, handmade sterling silver wires - represent simplicity itself.
By contrast, the Silver and White Pearl Hoop Earrings, £40, are a delicate concoction featuring lots of little white freshwater pearls wrapped onto handmade sterling silver hoops.
And you don't have to wait until winter to wear the Silver Snowflake and Pearl Necklace and matching Silver Snowflake and Pearl Earrings, both £45, which feature handmade silver snowflake charms and clusters of creamy Keishi freshwater pearls.
For those not getting married, there's also the Freshwater Pearl and Silver Ring, £40, which is a gloriously unfussy combination of an off-white, near-round freshwater pearl set on a 3mm sterling silver band.
But if, on the other hand you like to rebel against convention, black and dark grey pearls contrast and complement most skin tones. Those who like their pearls on the edgy side will love the Charcoal Pearl and Silver Barbs Necklace, £45, which features spiky, irregular charcoal freshwater peals interspersed with hand-beaten silver barbs.
Facts for pearl fans
Pearls are made by molluscs in response to an invading foreign body - often a grain of sand. This foreign body is covered with layer upon layer of pearlescent nacre, which is secreted by the living part of the mollusc, resulting in a pearl up to several years later.
Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate, conchiolin and water, plus trace elements such as iron, magnesium or aluminium.
Experts have found fossil traces of pearls that are up to 225 million years old, while actual pearls have been found in rocks that date back to the age of the dinosaurs.
South Sea pearls - which are found in gold-lipped pearl oysters - tend to be the most valuable, with some exceptional single pearls sold for many thousands of pounds. At Rok Chix, however, we use natural freshwater pearls, which are found in many species of mussels in rivers, lakes and ponds (whereas South Sea and other saltwater - or marine - pearls found in seas and oceans.
Most freshwater pearls are now produced in China and are far more affordable than marine pearls.
Browse the Rok Chix collections at rokchix.com.
Rok Chix is a collection of unique, limited-edition and affordable handmade sterling silver jewellery featuring precious and semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls. Each piece is made by hand in Brighton by designer/maker Christine Morgan.