Pearls – Natural Treasures in Contemporary Fine Jewellery

Pearls – Natural Treasures in Contemporary Fine Jewellery

We are delighted to introduce Ruth Tomlinson – one of our leading UK jewellery designers. Read our exclusive insight about why she adores using pearls in her unique jewellery creations.

“I’ve been using pearls in my fine jewellery collections for many years. They fit perfectly into my aesthetic of organic forms and natural imperfections. Even their composition is in keeping with my manufacturing process of building up layers of material to make an exceptional finished product.



The Ocean and Pearls

The ocean provides an endless source of inspiration for me – stories of forgotten underwater worlds, enchanting seascapes, abundant coral gardens and hidden nautical treasures. I’ve created a collection of jewels around this inspiration – the Encrustations Collection – which conjures images of tidal pools luxuriant with tiny natural wonders, juxtaposed against imagery of otherworldly unearthed riches and relics from bygone eras, long lost to the ocean’s tranquil depths. Pearls play a key role in this collection, either accompanying other semi-precious and precious stones or taking centre stage themselves and adding a contemporary edge to the iconic natural gem.

I am driven by my passion for the earth’s treasures; the magic of minutiae, tiny intricacies, small imperfections, and the individual’s search for preciousness. I seek out the unconventional beauty within and this fuels my creativity, whether in the rarity of material or my curiosity in nature. Some of my designs call for pearls in what some consider imperfect, gently irregular shapes; while for others I seek to juxtapose a regular shaped natural pearl against some other irregular or unexpected detail.




Another facet of my work is re-interpreting and recreating old, unworn jewels and transforming them into exciting new pieces for my clients to take pleasure in wearing with enjoyment once again. I’ve recently worked on a few bespoke projects incorporating antique pearls, combining them with precious stones and gold to create new jewels with a distinct sense of a bygone era, building on the stories that the pearls already carry, introducing opportunity for new stories, and yet maintaining their historical relevance.

In this necklace I used the clients’ antique half drilled pearls, in varying sizes, along with a selection of brilliant cut white diamonds to create an asymmetric piece that resembles a lost treasure, encrusted in layers of golden granules collected over years of being buried in the ocean’s depths.




This ring incorporates red spinels and white diamonds alongside a pair of lustrous pearls that are all the more captivating for their soft opacity against the highly faceted gemstones.



Finally, this pair of pearl drop earrings was made for a client who is never without her pearls. She came to me with a diamond ring that belonged to a family member and carried much sentimental value, but wasn’t her style and so didn’t get worn. I used the diamonds along with a beautiful pair of pearls to create these earrings  – reviving the diamonds and creating an item of jewellery that better resonates with the clients taste and style – classic with a contemporary twist.




I look forward to continuing to feed my fascination with pearls and incorporate them in future jewellery collection developments in new and innovative ways. Pearls are a forever-in-fashion gem.  They give their wearers a quintessential elegance that ties in perfectly with my overarching design ethos of creating precious treasures that are relevant in style both today and in the future for generations to come. ”


pearls, pearl


We are most grateful to Ruth for giving up her precious time to share her passion and fascination for earth’s little treasures.

If you want to get in touch with Ruth or if you would like Ruth to design a unique creation for you, she can be found at

Studio W3, Cockpit Arts, Cockpit Yard
Northington Street, London WC1N 2NP

Tel__ +44 207 831 3033

Sales Enquiries

To stock Ruth Tomlinson jewellery, please

General Enquiries

Please direct any general enquiries to

Bespoke Commisions

To enquire about bespoke pieces and custom orders, please email Ruth

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Ruth is also showing at


4th August – 3rd September 2016
The Scottish Gallery
16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh