WINNER Yoko London, Vigneto: Earlier this year, Yoko London chief executive officer Michael Hakimian acquired a range of freshwater pearls unlike anything he had seen in his 30-year career. They were deemed so rare and so spectacular, that Yoko London designed a whole collection around them; celebrating their exceptional size, fine quality and natural lilac hue (dubbed Radiant Orchid because of its similarities with Pantone's Colour of the Year 2014) with contrasting 18ct white gold and sparkling diamonds. The result is the Vigneto collection of statement rings and earrings, plus a strung pearl necklace, designed to showcase the quality of each Yoko London pearl. The ring (pictured), set with 1.64 carats of diamonds, perfectly captures the swirling fluidity of the entire range, with each pearl encased in rippling, floral designs.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Ornella Iannuzzi, Les Corallines: Les Corallines marks fine jeweller Ornella Iannuzzi's first foray into ready-to-wear, with pieces crafted in sterling silver, with black rhodium and 18ct gold plating. Designed to mimic the texture of coral formations, Les Corallines appears to transplant freshwater and Tahitian pearls back into their natural underwater environment. Take for example the Coralline Reef pendant above, which suspends a freshwater pearl as if it is being lifted from its shell for the first time. This feminine yet edgy collection has secured stockists in France, Taiwan, Russia and Puerto Rico, and London’s Fortnum & Mason and the British Museum shop.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Claudia Bradby, Glitterati: With its elegant and feminine reputation, the Claudia Bradby brand turned its collections up a notch earlier this year to tempt pearl lovers into purchasing party-ready collection, Glitterati. Designed for glamorous women with a taste for evenings on the town, the range combines pearls with garnets, black spinel and pyrite to create jewels that wouldn't look out of place on the dance floor. The three-strand Glitterati necklace partners a strand of pyrite beads with hand-knotted pearls, challenging the concept of 'traditional' pearl jewellery head-on. Other stand-out pieces in the range include the Firecracker garnet hoop earrings and the pearl and drusy quartz necklace.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Jersey Pearl, Emma-Kate: Designed by award-winning jewellery designer Emma-Kate Francis, this special collection by Jersey Pearl has been a gifting favourite. Featuring freshwater pearls in white and peacock colours set in silver, yellow gold vermeil and rose gold vermeil, the collection has offered up timeless elegance with an ivory option for brides-to-be. The filigree cup surrounding each freshwater pearl adds a point of difference to the collection, and is a detail that has lured customers to buy matching pieces, including earrings, pendants, rings and multi-pearl strands.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Melanie Georgacopoulos, Essence: Unveiled during Paris Fashion Week in February 2014, Melanie Georgacopoulos' Essence collection was created to celebrate natural beauty, focusing on the purity and quality of freshwater pearls. Designed to be worn every day, Georgacopoulos has found the balance between practical functionality and originality; using curved and straight lines of pearls to add a sense of movement while still maintaining her sought-after minimal aesthetic. The collection was equally appreciated by architect Zaha Hadid, who chose this Double Finger Z ring to be part of her curated selection at this year's Goldsmiths' Fair.