Pearls have long been synonymous with symbolizing class, but they've also received a reputation for being outdated in the process. Jewelry designers, like Toronto-based Laurie Fleming, is just one of the artisans working to change that. In honor of June, the pearl birthstone month, we asked Laurie Fleming to teach us about the famous gem and to talk to us about how jewelry designers are using pearls in an artfully modern way.
What's the difference between pearls and mother of pearl?
Mother of pearl comes from the shell of the oyster (the mother of the pearls). Pearls are the round or irregular shaped layers of nacre built around a grain of sand. The sand (or other object) has iridescent layers formed around it by the oyster because it's something of an irritant to the creature when it enters the oyster lip. What it produces is super luminous and rare to find in nature!
Mother of pearl is made of the same nacre as pearls and is equally as beautiful and full of color. Both have been coveted and used in adornment for thousands of years.