Sustainable Luxury: Perfectly Imperfect Pearls and Polished Gemstones and Metals Merge in this New Jewelry Collection - Lookbook

At $1,200 a pair, one earring from Arao features golden South Sea baroque pearls set in 14K yellow gold crowned with Citrine gemstones

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Ocean meets earth—this is the inspiration of Filipino fine jewelry brand, Arao, for its recently-released spring and summer line. Called Paradox, the collection brings together “natural and organically harvested South Sea pearls from the ocean and polished precious metals and gems from the earth” to create luxe earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

“[It] is a celebration of contrasts,” the brand’s founder and managing director Mirabel Rosar tells Lifestyle Asia, referring to the collection’s interpretation of three paradoxes. “It highlights universal polarities. It embraces the human experience of a paradox.”

The first paradox, raw and polished, is reflected in pearls “made rare and priceless” by nature through its imperfect shape. 

“[It] combines these imperfectly perfect gems with fine stones,” Rosar says. “Emerging from the depths of the earth, they are cut and polished by hand to perfection.”

An earring called Dawn ($1,200), for instance, features golden South Sea baroque pearls set in 14K yellow gold crowned with Citrine gemstones.

Forged and borne, the second paradox, “explores the contrasts of fire and water.”

Louisse Pendant

“Pearls are combined with forged gold, creating a play in proportion and symmetry,” Rosar says. True enough, the Louise pendant ($500) and its earring counterpart, Lucy ($650), are white South Sea pearls, each with a 14K yellow gold bar attached to it.

The third paradox, movement and stillness, “combines stunning champagne baroque pearls with dancing diamonds.”

“Some days we stay still and on others, we move,” Rosar explains. “The pieces for this capture the natural luster of pearls made brighter by the sparkle of gems.”

Phoebe Earrings

Both the Shirley pendant ($800) and a matching earring, Phoebe ($1,600), exhibit this paradox through the champagne South Sea baroque pearls hanging from a row of diamonds.

Inspiring creativity

At Arao, the experience of luxury jewelry does not end with purchasing pieces. Clients can create their own, too, via an in-house platform.

Aptly called The Pearl Lab, the new feature from the Hong Kong-based label allows crafty clients to personalize a piece according to their chosen jewelry format, birthstone, and preferred type of South Sea pearl.

“A simulated image of their creation will also be projected to give them a visual render of what they had created,” Rosar adds. “They can choose from a wide range of handpicked gemstones in different hues and cuts: diamonds in black or blue; sapphires in orange, yellow, and green; and pearls in shades of gold, brown, and gray.”

Rosar wishes for the lab to “inspire creativity” and to let one’s personal style shine through.

Ethical sourcing

Apart from highlighting the beauty of the Philippine seas’ South Sea pearls and reimagining them into understated yet chic pieces, Arao also values ethical practices—and adheres to it. 

“Sustainability is at the core of [the brand],” Rosar says. “Pearls are ethically-sourced from a sustainable pearl farm in Palawan, which the brand turns into luxe jewelry that shines light on the wearer, the planet, and people in communities.”

Operating on a no-waste mantra, the label only works with organic materials, and modified its packaging by using only recyclable materials to reduce as much waste as possible. 

A portion of the sales are also donated to The Philippines Foundation (TPF), a non-profit organization that educates disadvantaged mothers and children through community-rebuilding programs. TPF is also keen on pushing efforts to restore coral reefs and mangroves in coastal communities in the country.

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