Seed Pearl Jewelry 101

Frequent visitors to our blog already know their ways around the vast array of pearls that you find used in the manufacture of jewelry. One type of pearl does not get a lot of play, however: seed pearls. What are they and why are they special?

Natural Pearls or Byproducts of Pearl Production?

The formation of seed pearls, which are considered natural pearls measuring less (usually) than 2mm in diameter, is indeed the byproduct of the introduction of irritants into the oysters during cultivation. Their shapes vary. Usually, they are harvested when pearl farmers retrieve the intentionally seeded pearls.

Victorian Jewelry Favors the Seed Pearl

It is interesting to note that late Victorian jewelry frequently features these tiny pearls. They became a clear fashion trend and adorned everything from picture frames to ornate grooming paraphernalia and jewelry.
Case in point is this vintage Victorian pin with seed pearls and diamonds. The 14k pink gold holds an old-mine-cut diamond that weighs .07cts. Thirty-four seed pearls with blue tones and two creamy white pearls present the ornamentation. The floral theme of this pin is highly attractive. The jewel measures 16.43mm in width and 35.17mm in length.

Meticulous Artistry is a Must

Because of the seed pearls’ diminutive sizes, artisans using them in their pieces had to be experts at incorporating tiny details. Consider also that each pearl featured a slightly different size and shape, and it makes sense that planning and execution of the designs had to be meticulous to ensure that the appearance of the jewelry would be just right.
A good example is this open swirl design pin pendant with amethysts and seed pearls. The jewel is from the 1950s, and starts with a 14k yellow gold pin pendant. At the center, one round amethyst weighs in at 4.0cts and sets the tone for the color scheme. An additional 10 round amethysts weigh a combined 1.0cts and continue the look. Seventy round seed pearls measuring between 1mm and 2.5mm adorn the individual swirls. At a width of 32.50mm and a height of 31.94mm, this pin or pendant is an excellent addition to any jewelry wardrobe.

In some cases, the jewelry maker had to ensure that the design would not detract from the beauty of the small pearl. This 1860s garnet and diamond ring with a pearldemonstrates this concept. It features 14k yellow gold, a marquise-cut garnet weighing 1.70cts and six rose-cut diamonds with a combined weight of .06cts. A 2mm seed pearl holds its own with an offset in the design. This ring is a beautiful piece.

At Peter Suchy Jewelers we are experts in all types of vintage, estate and antique jewelry. We hope you’ll stop by our showroom located at 1137 High Ridge Road in Stamford Connecticut.
Or, hop on over to our top-rated BigCommerce Store where you’ll find all the vintage seed pearl gemstone jewelry you see here. If you find a listing has ended, please email us at as we may still have the item in stock.
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and be sure to check out our amazing Pinterest Boards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *