Supplier Spotlight - Freshwater Cultured Pearls with MKD Jewellery Design

Driven to share more about the process of our unique Medley pieces, our team had the chance to speak with our Freshwater Cultured Pearl supplier, MKD Jewellery Design and explore their passion for the industry. An Australian owner and 100% female-run company, here are some of the key insights they shared with us: 

When was MKD Jewellery Design founded?

MKD was formed in 1997 and carries the name of our company founder, Marlene Katz Design.

Marlene’s background for many years was with her family-run luxury jewellery retail stores in the ’70s to the ’90s. With her warm and bubbly personality and a keen eye for aesthetics, her talent soon shone. She helped individual customers transform their traditional heirloom jewellery into easy-wearing pieces. Customers delighted in their transformed jewellery that they could enjoy wearing every day. Even to this day, her customers from many years ago, greet her and thank her for reviving their keepsake jewellery.

In the mid-’90s, Marlene was dismayed to see highly-priced imitation jewellery offered in department stores and dreamt of creating affordable genuine jewellery for every woman.

Pearls have resonated for Marlene ever since her sixteenth birthday when she received her first strand of pearls from her parents. 

MKD is a completely Australian owned and all women-run company, with a dedicated small team, in long term partnership with a wonderful support base team of suppliers and production staff.

What do you enjoy most about working with pearls?

We love working with the organic characteristics, wide varieties and natural beauty of pearls including: 

Handling pearls, it’s so calming, mesmerizing and illuminating at the same time. When worn, its soft inner glow seems to soften and brighten your complexion.

Pairing of irregular shaped pearls, such as baroque pearls is such a fun therapy! It’s like solving a puzzle, but with shape, size, colour and lustre to pair up.

Selecting just the right size, shape and length pearls for a collection.

For instance, selecting the perfect size pearl to strike the balance on a ring. Selecting the perfect teardrop-shaped pearl earrings to frame the face.

Reinventing, redefining, modernizing pearls, it’s such a cool, versatile, timeless gem to work with.

What is your favourite pearl piece at Medley Jewellery?

We love Medley's Worn for Nobody tongue in cheek approach.

The collection is seriously clever, offering lots of simple, easy-wearing options that you can curate to create your individual look.

There are many pieces we love.

Our favourite Medley pearl jewellery at the moment would be the Freshwater Pearl Hoops in 10ct Gold. Each pearl is nestled into its little cradle structure in a neat row. They simply brighten and pretty up your summer outfit.

Where is your product sourced and made?

Our cultured freshwater pearls are sourced from China’s rural eastern and northeastern regions, as they are the specialist primary growers of freshwater pearls. Our jewellery is assembled and manufactured in the Guangdong region, renowned for its fine jewellery manufacturing. We work closely with our various factories, selecting suitable styles and collections that are assembled by various gold and silversmiths, according to their specialities.

Ethical sourcing is important to us, and MKD ensures all our supply chains comply with global labour and ethical standards.

One of the keys to MKD’s success is in building long term relationships with our factories, supply chain and customers, to deliver the very best outcomes, by supporting each other so we may all flourish together.

Are there any other exciting pearl facts or pieces of information you’d like to share with us?

Pearls are truly unique, as they are the only Organic Gemstones produced by living organisms underwater. All other gemstones are mined deep under the earth. It’s worth noting that almost all pearls on the market today are cultured. Natural pearls formed without human intervention are extremely rare and are not commercially viable.

Cultured Freshwater Pearls are Sustainable Gemstones, as they are grown or cultivated, rather than being mined.

Pearl farming also promotes healthy aqua ecosystems. In fact, luscious and beautiful pearls are the result of healthy freshwater lakes and river systems.

Every pearl is uniquely shaped by nature, and no two pearls are the same.

The Symbolism of Pearls:

Pearls represent love, wisdom, feminine energy, serenity, purity, integrity, loyalty.

In various cultures, pearls have been associated with the wisdom from the moon. Indeed, the spherical shape of the pearl and its gentle lustre resembles the soft and gentle radiance of the moon.

In ancient Greek mythology, Venus, the goddess of love, was said to have emerged from the waters, just like a pearl, representing beauty, love and femininity.

In Western cultures, pearls came to symbolize innocence, wholeness and fertility. Popular as gifts for brides, pearls became the birthstone of June, being the ideal month for weddings.

Pearls are often seen as an introspective, understated gem. Unlike other sparkly and flashy gemstones, its soft, deep lustre appears to be glowing from within. The many layers of nacre that form a beautiful pearl characterise the wisdom gained through experience. Its inherent beauty, irregularities and imperfections draw us to discover our inner selves.

Special thanks to Marlene and Ann for your insights!