Blog Archives

Pearls are a girl’s best friend

Freshwater pearls and sterling silver toggle clasp

Freshwater pearls and sterling silver toggle clasp


The pearl necklace is the equivalent of the wardrobe’s “little black dress”, a jewellery box staple that can instantly transform a plain dress or outfit into something eye-catching, classy and chic.

For many years, the pearl necklace has endured the reputation of being somewhat “frumpy” – the twinset and pearls image of an ageing spinster has been difficult to shake off and consequently, put younger women off wearing pearls for many years.

However, pearls are back with a vengeance – because things have changed! Real pearls are no longer the monopoly of the wealthy, and imitations have so much improved in quality and choice, that in terms of beauty and lustre, they can certainly give the real thing a run for its money.

Whilst a single or double strand of round white cultured pearls will always make you look like a princess, you can have a lot of fun experimenting with different types of pearls, different lengths, multiple strands, beautiful colours, and necklaces featuring combinations of pearls with gemstones, glass or other types of stunning feature beads.

The reason why cultured pearls have become so affordable is due to the Chinese who now have a huge freshwater pearl farming industry established around the coast of China.  Freshwater pearls appear in many shapes described by what the shape resembles such as “potato pearls”, “rice pearls” or “button pearls”.  There are many pearls to a shell, varying in size and colour. Freshwater pearls are often dyed – common colours being “peacock” and “peach”.  They can vary in quality.  The quality of a pearl is graded by its size, shape and lustre. Whilst a perfectly round large cultured pearl necklace would still be beyond most people’s pocket, freshwater pearls are very affordable and can be just as stunning in a fashion necklace.

Glass pearls such as those made by Swarovski (Austrian) or Preciosa (Czech) can allow the designer free rein to their creativity.  Always perfectly round, they come in a variety of glorious colours so there will always be a jewellery item to coordinate with the latest fashion ensemble.

Check out my designs in both freshwater and artificial pearls on the Caravela Jewellery website.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, it’s that time of year again already, and to celebrate I have launched my very own collection of handmade heart pendants.  I have used a selection of different materials from lampwork glass to cherry quartz, and the colours are just gorgeous.Each pendant is supplied with a leather thong necklace and a silver plated chain, in a lovely purple gift box.  All for just £12.00 (plus £2.50 p&p!! ImageImageImage

IJL: Jewellery galore – another great London event!

It’s been ages since I wrote my blog – so sorry if you have been waiting patiently –  but my excuse is that I have had a very busy summer what with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics and Paralympics  – I have been out and about a great deal – and what fantastic  events they  turned out to be!  What a great time to be in London, and then all that was followed by the no less awe-inspiring International Jewellery London.  It’s a fantastic annual event and probably  the biggest and best jewellery trade event of its kind in this country.

It’s a great showcase for new and established designers alike.  The ubiquitous shamballa style bracelet was still very much in evidence dominated by Tresor Paris of course – although they do have many imitators with different brand names.   I originally stocked a few of the same style of bracelet on my website, though much cheaper, just to see how they went. They weren’t particularly cheap (compared to Ebay), but unintentionally they became my best sellers, so I have broadened my range, although I hasten to point out that shamballa bracelets are only a tiny part of my inventory. I feel compelled to keep stocking them because that is what customers want, and my aim is to please my customers. My bracelets have become more expensive now as I have chosen to move  more upmarket. I now source them from better quality suppliers, though I am still keeping prices below £30 which is competitive. Customer satisfaction is very important to me, and I know that some of the cheaper bracelets on sale out there may look as good,  but fall apart after a couple of weeks.  Quality costs more.

The exhibition is divided up into various sections.  Diamonds and gold are as popular as ever despite the soaring prices, but silver has now become uber-fashionable with so many silver exhibitors present and so many stunning styles.

There were some brands that I had not been familiar with before such as Ortak and Sheila Fleet from the Scottish Isles producing the most beautiful work, combining silver with enamel in many collections.  Much as I would like to stock their jewellery, my website is all about adding value so there is no point in me stocking items which are available through their own websites as I don’t want to compete with them, however I do admire their work.

Also of great interest was the section on loose gemstones.  You can buy loose rubies and diamonds if you want, but I am more interested in the semi-precious gemstone beads which are no less breathtaking.  I will shortly be offering designer pieces on my website, such as beaded necklaces using only the best materials, hand made and exclusive to Caravela Jewellery and I like to select each stone personally.  My favourite stones are blue lace agate, aquamarine and larimar, and these highly prized stones were available in all shapes and sizes (with high prices to match). I don’t think these shows are the most cost-effective places to buy gemstones and silver beads, so I settled for something more modest, a string of dark green and brown agate which caught my eye because of their autumnal beauty, and some dyed jade hearts which I can see as pendant focal points in my mind’s eye.

I’m already looking forward to the next exhibition which will be in Birmingham in February, in the meantime, I have plenty of new products to add to my website and ideas for my new beaded creations.