Pearls in Style - How to Choose the Best

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Gina Pankowski | 0 Comments

Beyond Beautiful round strands pearls come in many shapes, colors and sizes. They are also one of a few renewable gems.

Pearls are an organic gem in every sense of the word. They grow within a living creature, their quality, color and shape are determined by the environment they live in. A healthy natural growing environment produces the most beautiful pearls.

.South Sea Pearl Farming

With so many options how do you choose?

For me pearls invoke an emotional response, their luster, colors and shapes are what I notice first. I buy what I like! But when you know a little more about them you can better choose based on the qualities that determine value and their origin.

These characteristics go into determining value and quality of pearls:

  • Color – The classic favorite is a white body color, black, grey, pink and yellow are also popular. When buying pearls you should always ask if a pearls color is natural. There are treatments to change the color of pearls that use dye, bleach and radiation. These will often fade with time. Slight changes in color will happen with natural pearls too because they will absorb oils from your skin. 


  • Luster – This is what you see on the surface of a pearl. The best pearls should shine and will often glow with a rainbow array of undertones or “orient”. An example would be white pearls with a yellow or pink orient or South Sea pearls with a peacock orient that displays a rainbow of colors in natural light.


  • Size – A significant factor in a pearl's value, it takes time to grow large pearls! Pearls grow inside a mollusk when an irritant like a grain of sand or an injury occurs. With cultured pearls a “nucleus” usually made from oyster shell is surgically implanted. As the oyster heals it coats this irritant with layers of nacre, the substance that also forms the interior of the shell. Mud and plastic are also used in fresh water pearls. It can take up to four years to grow a 9mm pearl. A healthy South Sea mollusk may live 8 or more years and produce 3-4 pearls. Other clams and oysters can be implanted with multiple nuclei or seeds to grow more than one pearl at a time.

The rarest pearls are those collected in the wild and they are even rarer today because many of the pearl bearing mollusks have been harvested to near extinction. The passion for pearls has never waned and with it the science of growing and caring for them has given us all a chance to experience their beauty. Pearls are a true renewable gem.

Shop Pearl Jewelry Now!

I hope sharing these tips with you will help you enjoy wearing and collecting pearl jewelry even more!

For more in-depth information on pearls check out these links and books:

The Pearl Book: The Definitive Buying Guide by Antoinette Matlins

Pearl Buying Guide: How to Identify and Evaluate Pearls by Renee Newman


Posted in Earrings, Gold Jewelry, Pearl Jewelry, Pearls

Jewelry Creates Lasting Memories

Posted on December 07, 2016 by Gina Pankowski | 0 Comments

I want to help you with a gift of joyful surprise and ear to ear smiles!

This year you can't go wrong with hoop earrings. My collection includes designs in Silver, Gold, and these metals in combination. You can choose shiny and bright or my personal favorites in Black Silver and Gold. I even have a pair of hoops for the pearl lover!

Ibex hoop earrings silver gold black white black pearls

While the pressure is on to find the perfect gift - you can relax here because your gift of Gina Pankowski Jewelry can be exchanged for another item or online store credit through January 31st, 2017.

Kinetic hoop earrings 22k gold sterling silver white black gold

The final date for custom and made to order jewelry delivered free by Christmas Eve is December 10, 2016

 You have found something truly unique for your gift this year!

Posted in Earrings, gold, hoops, pearls, silver hoops, store news

Spring Favorite Earring Styles

Posted on March 11, 2015 by Gina Pankowski | 0 Comments

Seed earrings in sterling silver with pearls set inside. Their drop shaped links connect with apposing points are reminiscent of unfurling buds or cells dividing. This pair is made from 100% recycled sterling silver with pink pearls and 14k gold ear posts.
The Seed earrings are also available with a dark patina and white pearls.
This design is also available as a pendant set with garnets on sterling silver chain.

Posted in Pearls, Silver Jewelry

Fresh Jewelry Cleaning Tips

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Gina Pankowski | 0 Comments

Caring for your Silver and Gold Jewelry

In the spirit of starting the year fresh I like to give some attention to my jewelry collection. Silver normally shows more color from oxidation/tarnishing than gold but both metals benefit from regular cleaning.

The simple recipe I use is non-toxic and easy to make in your kitchen. This solution is excellent for silver and gold and the harder gems like Quartz, Sapphires and Diamonds. Do not clean jewelry with soft or organic gems like Turquoise, Opals, and Pearls with this solution. More about that later.




You will need a clean aluminum dish like a pie tin or

a glass or ceramic bowl with a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom, enough to cover the surface.

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon mild dish soap

1 Cup hot water, not boiling

A soft tooth brush

Measure your salt, soda and soap and place in bowl. Place the jewelry to be cleaned in the bowl. Add the hot water, hot from the tap is ok. The mix will fizz a little, swirl the water around in the bowl with the jewelry then let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Check progress and use the soft tooth brush to loosen extra dark areas and around gem settings. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry. Your jewelry should be clean and bright.


When cleaning jewelry with an “antique” patina use only warm soapy water and a soft cloth if you want to keep the “antique” look.

Pearl jewelry should only be cleaned with a damp soft cloth used to gently wipe the pearl. Do not get your pearl stands wet because they will stretch and leave gaps between pearls and knots.

I met a Jeweler who also sold beautiful Opals in Los Cabos Mexico that told me it was Aztec tradition to revitalize the Opalos gems by placing them in water over night on a full moon. Maybe the stronger tides help? Maybe because the color in Opals comes from their water content? It is true that Opals should be stored away from heat and a little water soak is good for them too.

Posted in Gold Jewelry, Patina, Pearls, Silver Jewelry

Perfect Studs and LBD for Party Season!

Posted on November 03, 2014 by Gina Pankowski | 0 Comments

The November issue of Glamour Magazine is featuring design duo Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson's new line of LBD's and we have some great jewelry to accessorize with! My Quark earrings worn by Hilary Rhoda are the place to start. Earrings are an essential element for making a statement. These studs combine black, white pearls and gold with a bit of unexpected movement, the gold wires are floating inside the black circle stud. Adding a playful gesture to a classic combination. 

Carry the look onto your neckline with the Quark Necklace in that classic combination of black, white and gold with a modern twist. These pieces from my Orbit Collection are a great way to launch a conversation too. Did you know that Quarks are a fundamental element in all matter, protons and neutrons are made of Quarks. Get your Geek and your Glam on! 

Posted in Earrings, Gold Jewelry, Necklace, Pearls, Silver Jewelry