vegan pearls

i’m one of those people who saves "big ideas" that i want to blog about. they kick around in the back of my mind forever, and i keep intending to post about them, and usually i eventually do, but honestly i don’t know why i wait so long. in this case, i’ve waited so long to post that i have already found the solution! whoops. i mean, hey, bonus for me, but it sort of takes the desperation out of this post i’ve been saving up so dramatically.

so, my original post was going to be a discussion (of sorts) about pearl jewelry, because i have an absolute crapload of it. when it comes to clothes and purses and jewelry and so forth, i tend toward the simple stuff. i like things that are pretty and lovely, but i generally prefer simple over ornate. also, i come from a family who really loves pearls. two of my great-aunts used to live in spain, where majorica was all the rage for their (extremely realistic) synthetic pearls. they weren’t cheap, but they were more affordable then the real deal, and they’re very beautiful. my aunts used to buy them as gifts for the women in our family, and when i went to spain in 1993 one of my main objectives during the trip was to buy a strand of majorica pearls. after i found one, i carried it around like precious treasure.

even beyond the strange majorica cult my family seems to have going on, i have just always loved pearls. i love their simplicity, their shape, their sheen. i love that they are classy and pretty without trying too hard. i used to wear small pearl studs in my ears almost every day; i had a set of ivory and a set of charcoal. way back when, i broke up with a serious boyfriend, and as part of that breakup i returned his great-grandmother’s diamond ring. to console myself and give my hands something new to fiddle with, i bought a simple pearl on a sterling band to replace it. i loved that ring and wore it constantly.

one of the first birthday gifts my husband ever gave me was a single
pearl dangling from a pretty silver chain; i wore it later on our
wedding day. when my mother-in-law wanted to buy me special presents, my husband told her i loved pearls; i have a beautiful pendant from her and also a set of earrings. when one of my great-aunts died, and later my great-grandmother, one of the things the girls in my family were careful to do was to make sure everyone received some of their special pearl jewelry. one of my proudest jewelry "finds" for quite a long time was a pearl ring i bought at a festival for $5. i absolutely fell in love the moment i saw it, and i bought it immediately. i wore it every single day for a very long time, and i loved telling people it was only $5.

when i went vegan, i was still in the phase of wearing that ring every day. and the more i thought about it, the more i realized that i probably "shouldn’t" be wearing it. i researched majorica, because i knew they were synthetic (yay! hope!) and then learned that even though the pearls aren’t grown inside oysters, the coating is made from fish scales. sigh. i started to neglect all of my pearl jewelry, and had mixed feelings about it. i suppose this is similar to the "but what do i do with all of my wool sweaters and leather shoes?" dilemma, except that there was no way my pearls would ever "wear out." and even though i’m not doing any harm to oysters by wearing pearl jewelry that i’ve had for years and years, i still felt kind of weird about doing it (i feel the same way about leather shoes).

so they all sit neglected in my jewelry box. the majority of them have sentimental value to me, so i don’t want to give them away, but i don’t know what to do with them otherwise, so i just look at them each day when i pick something else to wear.

of course, in the meantime i’ve been wondering why the heck i can’t get pretty, simple, stylish vegan pearl jewelry. it just didn’t seem to exist! somewhere along the line (fairly recently) i became aware of tamara mcfarland, when vegan essentials started carrying her bridal jewelry–including, you guessed it, a strand of pearls and some fancy pearl earrings. those particular pieces were much more "dressy" than i wanted, but it was a start! i was so excited to learn that there was a vegan pearl artist out there, and i made a mental note to try and follow her jewelry and maybe even get in touch with her some day.

before i had a chance to do that, though, she found me (in a roundabout way). since she had practically fallen in my lap, i decided i’d better not waste my opportunity and i let her know that i’d been looking for pretty, simple pieces for quite some time now. and THEN i learned that she had just started making these beautiful wire-wrapped pearl rings, and my mouth just dropped open. eureka! that pretty much sealed the deal. i let her know immediately that i NEEDED to have one, and she sent me pictures of all the colors she had. of course, it took me a billion years to figure out which one i liked best, but eventually i went with misty grey… and, because i’m me, i decided i also had to buy a necklace to match. heh. my little package from tamara arrived today, and i’m in love. i put the ring on right away–it’s beautiful and unique and pearly, and best of all, no one had to stab an oyster to make it for me.

thank you, tamara! *smooch*

Advertisements

16 comments

  1. Those are gorgeous! I love the way the wire looks on the rings. I’m now thinking of buying one because of the wire itself, with the vegan pearl as an extra bonus! πŸ˜€
    Have you figured out what to do with all the other pearls that have sentimental value?
    And this is random – I see you have 3 charlotte martin albums on your side bar. I have one of her albums, and being the kind of person who never quite pays attention to anything, I had no idea she had others! And the three on your side bar are three I don’t have. πŸ˜€

  2. deb–no, i still haven’t solved the “jewelry box full o’ pearls” dilemma. i’m not sure if i ever will. any ideas? πŸ™‚
    and that’s so funny about charlotte martin! if it makes you feel any better, i never even knew she existed until a few weeks ago. i heard one of her songs on teevy, thought to myself, “holy cow she sounds like someone i would just love!” and then bought everything i could find. so, glad to be of service!
    tamara–you deserve it! your jewelry is beautiful.
    flower–you are so sweet! i’ll do my best to remember to wear them the next time i see you. πŸ™‚

  3. deb–no, i still haven’t solved the “jewelry box full o’ pearls” dilemma. i’m not sure if i ever will. any ideas? πŸ™‚
    and that’s so funny about charlotte martin! if it makes you feel any better, i never even knew she existed until a few weeks ago. i heard one of her songs on teevy, thought to myself, “holy cow she sounds like someone i would just love!” and then bought everything i could find. so, glad to be of service!
    tamara–you deserve it! your jewelry is beautiful.
    flower–you are so sweet! i’ll do my best to remember to wear them the next time i see you. πŸ™‚

  4. The ring is so beautiful. I don’t really wear jewelry much but if I did I’d definitely pick up one of her rings.
    About your old pearl jewelery that has sentimental value, you could have a jeweler you trust (maybe Tamara) take out the old pearls and replace them with vegan pearls. This way you could keep the settings and be able to comfortably wear them. You could either sell or give the real pearls away (perhaps to other family members who would also cherish the sentimentality).

  5. The ring is so beautiful. I don’t really wear jewelry much but if I did I’d definitely pick up one of her rings.
    About your old pearl jewelery that has sentimental value, you could have a jeweler you trust (maybe Tamara) take out the old pearls and replace them with vegan pearls. This way you could keep the settings and be able to comfortably wear them. You could either sell or give the real pearls away (perhaps to other family members who would also cherish the sentimentality).

  6. I also love Tamara’s jewelry!! She recently designed all of the jewelry for my wedding and did an amazing job! So glad you found her as well. It is tough letting go of our non-vegan items sometimes. I have a beautiful louis vuitton leather purse that I was so in love with when my fiance gave it to me, but now that I’m vegan it just sits in my closet. I feel guilty to give such a nice gift to charity, but also to guilty to wear it. Hopefully you’ve figured out something to do with all of your pearls!

  7. I also love Tamara’s jewelry!! She recently designed all of the jewelry for my wedding and did an amazing job! So glad you found her as well. It is tough letting go of our non-vegan items sometimes. I have a beautiful louis vuitton leather purse that I was so in love with when my fiance gave it to me, but now that I’m vegan it just sits in my closet. I feel guilty to give such a nice gift to charity, but also to guilty to wear it. Hopefully you’ve figured out something to do with all of your pearls!

  8. i have a question…when pearls are created, are we killing any animal…i.e. the oyster? help…my guilty conscience is killing me!

  9. kalden–yep, unfortunately, the oysters die in the process of “harvesting” the pearl. basically in order to make a pearl, people place something irritating inside, then let the oyster sit there trying to protect itself from the irritation for a period of time (thus creating the pearl), and then they kill the oyster and remove the pearl. it’s pretty sad. 😦

  10. kalden–yep, unfortunately, the oysters die in the process of “harvesting” the pearl. basically in order to make a pearl, people place something irritating inside, then let the oyster sit there trying to protect itself from the irritation for a period of time (thus creating the pearl), and then they kill the oyster and remove the pearl. it’s pretty sad. 😦

  11. I have one necklace from my grandma (that her brother made her), a ring from my great-great grandma, and a pair of earrings from my other grandma that I can never get rid of…but it’s soooo awesome to find this designer! I dabble in some jewelry making, so I might get some strait from swarovski, too, but I in no way rival tamara’s abilities! So I think I’m going to need to purchase a ton of jewelry from her. Thanks so much for the info!!!

  12. I have one necklace from my grandma (that her brother made her), a ring from my great-great grandma, and a pair of earrings from my other grandma that I can never get rid of…but it’s soooo awesome to find this designer! I dabble in some jewelry making, so I might get some strait from swarovski, too, but I in no way rival tamara’s abilities! So I think I’m going to need to purchase a ton of jewelry from her. Thanks so much for the info!!!

  13. You are WONDERFUL! I just had a friend e-mail this same question about pearls and I can’t wait to share with her what you wrote. And … I can’t wait to check out Tamara’s jewelry. Thank you!

  14. You are WONDERFUL! I just had a friend e-mail this same question about pearls and I can’t wait to share with her what you wrote. And … I can’t wait to check out Tamara’s jewelry. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s