Industry / Pearls

Suzanne Kalan on Her Pearl Capsule Collection for CPAA


Suzanne Kalandjian, founder of Suzanne Kalan, known for its iconic baguette jewelry designs, recently teamed up with the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) to create a capsule collection featuring Tahitian pearls.

With the bold, luminous black pearls at their centers, Kalan’s signature design is evident in each of the four pieces that comprise the collection, with baguette emeralds beautifully offsetting the pearls (there is also one piece featuring diamonds, in the spirit of Kalan’s signature Fireworks style).

The jewels made their in-person debut at the recent Couture jewelry show in Las Vegas, and a currently available on the designer’s website.

JCK had a few questions for the revered designer on her memorable collection and possible future with pearls.

Suzanne Kalan Tahitian pearl earrings
Earrings in 18k yellow gold with 14.6 mm Tahitian pearls and 2.41 cts. t.w. emeralds, $20,000

We don’t often see you designing with pearls. What made this opportunity special? What do you enjoy about working with pearls?

I’ve wanted to work with Tahitian pearls for a long time but wanted to do it when I had time to launch something significant. In the last few years, there has definitely been a resurgence of black pearls in the market, so when I was approached by the CPAA at the beginning of this year (who had been given support from the government of French Polynesia to launch a collection) it seemed ideal timing. So many incredible jewelry designers have not worked with Tahitians or pearls before, so I was excited to be given this opportunity, especially by such a globally respected organization as the CPAA.

Suzanne Kalan Tahitian pearl ring
Ring in 18k yellow gold with 17.3 mm Tahitian pearl and 6.6 cts. t.w. emeralds, $36,000 (also pictured at top)

Tell us about your use of emerald in these pieces.

Although Tahitian pearls beautifully offset the sparkle of baguette diamonds, I also wanted to create something a bit different, hence adding emeralds into the collection.

Do you have any plans to do more with pearls for your own collections in the future?

I do indeed. I’m always collecting, planning, and designing. Timing is key, but I certainly have some exciting plans for a pearl collection.

Suzanne Kalan Tahitian pearl ring
Ring in 18k rose gold with Tahitian pearl and 2.51 cts. t.w. diamonds, $26,000

What would you tell retailers or customers about black pearls? What sets them apart from the traditional white, and why should stores stock them?

Due to the resurgence of black pearls in the market, if I were speaking to my retailers, I would highly recommend investing in them now, as the demand is there. To my customers, I would highlight how complementary Tahitian pearls are to wear with my Fireworks collections, especially those with white diamonds and emeralds, and what an investment they are, too, as they are timeless. Unlike traditional white pearls, there are many undertones of color in Tahitian pearls: blue, green, purple, and even pink.

Suzanne Kalan Tahitian pearl earrings
Earrings in 18k yellow gold with 12.4 mm Tahitian pearls and 2.3 cts. t.w. emeralds, $14,000

What are customers searching for the holiday season? Share your advice for retailers as the season is upon us.

Regardless of occasion, customers always want an investment. My collections combine a mixture of qualities that make them a popular choice for the holiday season. They’re modern yet sexy with a classic undertone.

In previous years we’ve noticed earrings and necklaces selling well around this period, however, eternity bands are still our top seller throughout the course of the year.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes for the jewelry industry in 2022?

That it continues to grow and allows for inclusivity. Like every industry, 2021 has been tough, but it’s also been such a fun year for me in terms of designing. I’ve created my first-ever men’s line, I’ve started working with black sapphires, and I’ve recently been lucky enough to launch this exquisite new Tahitian pearl collection. If 2022 continues like this, I’ll certainly be happy.

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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