Photographing pearls

Hello from one of the few jewellers in Adelaide who has been able to remain open during this very anxious time.

As a jeweller, designer and an artist I have always been fascinated by portraying jewellery in glamorous and unexpected ways.

This started in the ’80s when we used to photograph our jewellery to be printed as beautiful, large framed images that became an important element part of our interior design:

This interest also became very useful when we opened our Greenhill Road jewellery gallery in the late ’90s.

It was at this stage we had employed a very clever Adelaide marketing director, Paul Hamra, to assist us with ideas to announce our move from Dulwich.

After our first successful meeting he regularly reminded me that as jewellers we stood apart from the mainstream because our jewellery was pure art. Everything we did and made was inventive, original, adventurous and fortunately attracted press coverage.

To announce the gallery opening we decided to print a large format ‘newspaper’ which was delivered in a protective plastic sleeve which was a bit radical for its time. The publication was black and white, again very striking and different and contained beautiful strong images of jewellery using unanticipated props. Keep in mind, this was a pre-digital photography era.

One photo that really tested our skill and patience was a shot featuring a heavy 18ct yellow gold mabé pearl bracelet which we decided should sit on a fish tail. The Atlantic salmon we used had been frozen and continually ran with slime which of course dripped over the jewellery piece making the photo less attractive. As the fish defrosted the tail also folded inwards which of course meant the bracelet kept sliding off. We were getting nowhere and after many wasted shots we pinned the tail out with clear fishing trace and used a 30 second window between wiping the fish down and dealing with a fresh flood of slime.

Another true challenge instigated by Paul Hamra was a concept that was planned to give the Adelaide racing season a bit of a social boost. The discussion began ….. racing, horses, racing colours, racing silks, race meetings, dressing up, glamour, fashion, hats ….a Million Dollar Hat!

So the journey began – find a pearl supplier who was happy to let us have the pearls, find a milliner to make the hat, design the way in which the pearls were to be mounted. The photo tells it all, grey voile swirled with white gold wires holding over forty very large South Sea Pearls from Autore Pearls. It certainly turned heads at all the events and made the papers locally and the press releases in Hong Kong, Kentucky and Ascot.

To see more pearl jewellery inspiration, have a look here.

All the best


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