Love and pearls

This is a story about my Grandmother, Jean Watson who was Anglican and in love with Norman Carol a Protestant man.

Grandma wearing Norm’s pearls at my wedding.

The original strand – a fashionable length in the 1940s.

This union was not considered appropriate at this time in history so Jean married George Sutherland Smith who was my Grandfather.

Norm (the love of her life) never married and remained in love with Jean until he died, at some point in time after WWII Norm gave Jean a string of Mikimoto pearls.

Jean my Grandma loved these pearls and wore them for special occasions. This image is of Grandma wearing the pearls at my wedding (it brings a smile to my face every time I see this image).

When Grandma passed away she gave these treasured pearls to my mother, who was a casual woman and never wore them.

She did have the pearls valued and was pleased to discover that the pearls were good quality and that Norm had invested in something beautiful.

On several occasions my mother told me that she would give the pearls to me one day – but that day never arrived and my mother died.

Finally after a period of “not being able to find Norm’s pearls” I now have them and have had them remodelled.

The earrings that inspired the clasp are designed and made by Monica Szwaja.

Adding additional grey pearls – I wanted a double strand choker and matching such old pearls is not easy and is very very expensive so I decided to go for a contrast colour instead.

I then had the pearls threaded, at this stage in the process I was able to work on the colour placement and decided to add some tiny diamonds to the clasp.

The finished product with white pearls and the clasp worn to the front.

The finished product worn in reverse, so that the grey pearls dominate.

I love my new necklace, it is precious to me as it unites me with my Grandma, Norm – the love of her life and my own mother – I know they would approve!

This is the second time I have worked with Alistair Reid of Gray Reid Gallery – and it was a real joy. Alistair is an expert and can tell you astonishing facts about all types of jewels, he is someone who appreciates the story of where things come from and what they mean to the current owner, he is full of ideas about how to turn something unworn and sentimental into an object of wearable beauty.

I love what Alistair and his team have created for me.

Gray Reid Gallery – 156 Collins St, Melbourne 3000
Phone 9650 7700