This Lustrous Golden South Sea Pearl Ring Is Wearable Sunshine

Centering a luminous golden South Sea pearl, this majestic piece is a hot commodity in any season.

Elegant, lustrous pearls are perennially chic, whether in a classic single strand for daytime or ropes upon ropes layered for an evening affair like the 2023 Met Gala. Less common, but equally welcome in either scenario, are pearl cocktail rings. And this one — by Westport, Connecticut, designer Faye Kim, featuring a golden South Sea pearl — offers a sophisticated take on the shimmering gem that’s miles away from ordinary.

The South Sea pearl is a variety harvested from the saltwater oyster known as the Pinctada maxima and highly prized for its size. This example is about a half inch in diameter, giving it a pronounced profile on the finger, with a champagne hue that qualifies it as “golden.” Golden South Sea pearls are particularly sought after, especially those cultured off the northwest coast of Australia, like this one. Mounted in a simple design of 18-karat gold and accented with diamonds, the gem is the undeniable star of the show here.

“For golden South Sea pearls, the color must fall into the ‘gold’ category, with a rich depth of color that ordinary ‘yellow’ pearls just don’t have,” explains Kim, who launched her brand in 2003 and is known for geometric, architectural pieces centering lush stones. Kim works with emeralds, sapphires and diamonds, among many other gems, but she has a particular affinity for pearls. “Each is one of a kind, made by nature,” she says. “As a designer, I find the many colors, shapes and sizes very inspiring and essential to my creative process.”

The connection is deeply personal. “The very first gift I received as a child was a pearl ring from my uncle who lived in Japan,” says Kim. Notably, she began her jewelry career in the pearl-buying office of Tiffany & Co., where she “had the best training, with hands-on experience that helped me develop a keen eye for quality.”

Now, when selecting pearls, “I look for a balance between all the attributes — shape, luster, skin or surface blemishes and iridescence,” says Kim. “All things being equal, the larger sizes are superior and the most valuable.”

“Today,” she continues, “a classic design with an oversize, deep golden pearl is bold and elegant — a fashion statement.” We couldn’t agree more.

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