Pearls have always held a certain elegance: the multiple ropes which adorned the necks of Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly became a lustrous signifier of a certain meticulous beauty. Since then, of course, the rules have been rewritten, and we have seen pearls sliced, studded with spikes and layered with costume jewellery as an insouciant play on their value.

In his decade-long role as creative director of jewellery house Tasaki, Thakoon Panichgul’s treatment of pearls has always stood apart. The pearls, which derive from Tasaki’s own pearl farms in Japan and Myanmar, encapsulate both his intention to modernise the design and the exceptionally skilled levels of craftsmanship a Tasaki pearl requires.

Tasaki pearls
balance cross ring in yellow gold with an Akoya pearl and diamond

‘I think the perception is that pearls are for a more sophisticated set, but that stands to be broken,’ Panichgul says. ‘Pearls can be quite youthful when applied in a different way than what we’ve been used to seeing for a long time.’

A new collection, balance cross, retains this less formal aesthetic Panichgul champions. Perfectly spherical pearls unite with graphic silhouettes of gold in cheerful geometrical juxtapositions. The pearls, paired with diamonds and the cross of the gold, spell out XOXO (commonly recognised as hugs and kisses), Panichgul’s way of dismissing the idea love requires balance.

‘I bring what I think is a modern interpretation,’ he says. ‘We want to be modern for the women of today.’ He enjoys challenging the preconceived ideas of pearls: ‘This is why, in the designs, a lot of the energy that comes out is sometimes a contradiction in form and perception. But ultimately, they are modern.’ §

Tasaki pearls
balance cross necklace in yellow gold with Akoya pearls