They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but perhaps it is time for pearls to shine, or rather gleam? Australian jeweller Paspaley has long been a leading advocate for this beautiful gemstone. The unveiling of their latest collection of pearl jewellery entitled ‘Maxima’ coincides with the 80th anniversary celebrations for the company.
For Maxima, Paspaley designer Catherine Buman shifts the focus to Mother of Pearl. This lustrous nacre is sourced from the Pinctada Maxima oyster, the largest oyster known to create pearls. For this particular collection the Mother of Pearl is then hand-carved into rainbow-hued teardrops and paired with white diamonds, white or yellow gold and, of course, the lusciously glossy South Sea pearls that are Paspaley’s signature.
For those who dare to ditch the diamond solitaire ring, there’s a ‘split’ ring that features two Mother of Pearl drops floating beside the fingers like wings, a ring band with a mother of pearl suspended from it pendant-style so that all facets can be seen and a cocktail ring which showcases Mother of Pearl in-laid and surrounded by 193 diamonds!
The Maxima collection is also inspired by water in general, jelly fish and the Kimberley region, the coastline of which is where Paspaley’s divers tend to oysters and eventually harvest their precious pearl bounty. The pieces were unveiled at the recently reinvigorated George Ballroom. Creative director Tony Assness took the design theme into the event space to create a softly-lit ‘desertscape’. Floral artist Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora created over-sized Australian native sculptures from kangaroo paw, eucalyptus and paper daisies that sublimely scented the room.
The menu followed an oceanic vibe with Paspaley pearl meat served with blood orange and lime, and lemon poached lobster sandwiches with salmon roe. A trio of models were adorned in undulating waves of couture tulle in varying shades of desert sand and draped in strand of pearls. They were redolent of regal mermaids emerging from under the sea (that other Maxima, reigning Queen of the Netherlands, would be proud of her sub-marinal counterparts).
In celebration of Paspaley’s 80th year, the Maxima collection features in a specially commissioned short film that is unlike your standard fashion film. ‘Behind the Lens’ is directed by the Sundance and Cannes award-winning Ariel Kleiman and stars British actress – and surely Sienna Miller or Gwyneth Paltrow’s lovechild – Clara Paget. The evocative Kimberley and the pearl jewels themselves easily share the spotlight.
Images by Lucas Dawson
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Always a favourite of mine, I love this delicate new collection!