Nobody can forget Audrey Hepburn’s charming performance in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with her pearl necklace combined with a classic little black dress. Way before that, pearls had been used as jewellery since ancient Greek times. Today, pearls still have a place in modern jewellery trends. The designs have become more varied, from antique to modern. Atlas Pearls, an Australian ASX listed company, is one of the global leaders in eco-pearling, specialising in the highly sought after silver and white South Sea Pearl. Their pearl farms include those Alor, Lembata, Flores, Papua and Bali. Just a few months ago Atlas Pearls held a jewellery design competition in cooperation with Indonesia Design. Many designers submitted their ideas and the winners have been chosen.
Winner: Muhammad Ichsan
Concept design: Fibonacci and
the Golden Ratio
Muhammad Ichsan uses a mathematical series that is often found in architectural works, arts and in the universe in his jewellery concept. The Fibonacci sequence, which is a series of numbers where each number equals the sum of the two preceding numbers, is the derivation of the Golden Ratio. This ration is repeates throughout the natural wood as well as the human form.
For this competition, Ichsan designed an ear cuff using semi round South Sea Pearls of the same size, but at production it was adapted to 7, 8 and 9 mm sizes. Each set of ear cuffs uses six pieces of pearls – three on each side – and the finishing uses 18 k yellow gold. The minimalist approach to the design is meant to make the wearer feel confident without having too many details. The simple and classy design makes it versatile; it can be worn by ladies in the 20s up to their 40s and can be passed down to future generations.
To Ichsan, pearl is a very interesting material due to the formation process. Each pearl is different to one another, hence there will be no exact twin designs. “The challenge is in choosing the right pearl. I had to test a number of pearls to finally decide which ones to use in the jewellery, concerning the shape, size and number,” Ichsan says. He only needed three days to come up with the concept. Executing the design, choosing the materials and the right pearls took longer until he was really sure –about a week. After that, he used 3D software to visualise his concept. Finally a design rendering process helped the design to look real with all the materials that he had imagined.
Finalist: Agnes Olivia
Design concept: Duo Looks Pearl Ear Cuff
Agnes designed an ear cuff with two looks, where she used two kinds of closure that creates two different styles. The first one is elegant, where she uses the cup post back closure. The second one is bold and stylish, the kind of ear cuff to wear for parties at night, where she uses a screwball type of closure, connected with a dangling chain with a pearl at the bottom end. The ear cuff is made of flexible sterling silver that can be adjusted to the ear shape of the wearer and is gilded with rose gold colour.
Agnes understands that pearls have a classy image and that each pearl is unique. She also knows that a good quality pearl requires a thorough handling, which makes it a luxury item. “With the right combination, a piece of jewellery can give a strong or different impact and image to someone’s look. Sometimes it can even voice a fashion statement,” she says via a written interview with Indonesia Design. “And through this competition, I got to learn more about the types of pearls from the rich Indonesian oceans,” she adds.
Finalist: Valerie Susilo
Design concept: DNA
Valerie adopted the concept of DNA to her design, where nobody has the exact same DNA and that means everyone has her own kind of beauty. In her design, she associates that uniqueness with Baroque pearls, which have inconsistent shapes that remind her of the diversity of the human character.
What she likes about pearls is their elegance and magnificence. When worn abundantly, they still don’t look overdone. The most challenging thing in designing the jewellery for Valerie was, “To design something unique but still highlighting the pearls because sometimes they can be overshadowed when combined with other materials.”
The competition gave Valerie her first experience in designing jewellery. It challenged her to come up with new creative ideas amongst her activities as a fashion designer. “Atlas Pearls is important for the sustainability of pearls because now most young people think that pearls are for the oldies, but Atlas Pearls is trying to change that mindset. Also, they help the economy especially in the remote areas where they built the environmentally friendly pearl farms,” Valerie adds.
Finalist: Dinda Rizki Amelia
Design concept: Balinese Hand Fan
Dinda aimed to create a modern urban contemporary design based on something traditional from Indonesia. Atlas Pearls having one of its pearl farms in Bali inspired her to develop a jewellery design from the hand fan shape that is used by Balinese Legong dancers. Designing something urban from something traditional was quite a challenge for Dinda. It was not so easy to create something with a geometric basic shape into something that’s more ergonomic and comfortable to wear on a daily basis.
To add more elegance to the earrings, she combined the white round South Sea Pearls with 18k yellow gold, following the modern jewellery trend. The thing that she likes the most about pearls is the variety of shapes and colours. But that also made it harder for her to decide which ones to use for the design.
Dinda admires the long process of the pearl formation. “Beauty and achievement will not be reached instantly and easily, just like a beautiful pearl,” says Dinda, which somewhat illustrates the designing process in the competition.