The Tension-Set Pearl Ring That Changed the Way We Wear Pearls on Our Fingers
What sets pearls apart as gems is their organic origin. Not mined, fished or farmed instead, to me it seems as if these gems carry a spark of living energy within them. Therefore, it seems very intuitive that a gem like pearls should be worn against the skin. Yet, traditionally, the ring settings for pearls have almost always included a metal cup to hold the pearl, which inadvertently creates a barrier between the pearl and the person.
However, it was about 25 years ago that a ring debuted on the jewellery scene where the pearl actually touched the skin of the wearer. The Modern Ring by GELLNER was the first tension-set pearl ring which held a perfectly spherical cultured pearl between the terminals of the shank, such that the pearl appeared to float above the finger. This ring was a true marvel of jewellery concept. Since then, its design has come to occupy a central place in the world of fine jewellery.
At the very beginning, however, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Modern ring! Working with jewellery designer Norbert Mürle, GELLNER adapted the tension setting so often seen in diamond rings, to pearls, giving the jewellery world its very first Modern Ring. The look was minimalist and structured and the focus of the piece was the pearl. Jörg Gellner, CEO of GELLNER Pearls, clearly understood the significance of this ground-breaking design. Nevertheless, when he approached a lawyer in Pforzheim with the intention of having this design patented, he was dissuaded from going down that path. The lawyer did not see any merit in it… how wrong was he!
Within two years of its introduction, the Modern ring became one of the most popular offerings at GELLNER, such that many other jewellers started copying it. Today, the tension-set pearl ring, in one form or the other, is seen all over the jewellery world, as part of the repertoire of high jewellery brands and independent jewellers alike. When I asked Jörg how he feels about the ring being copied without anyone attributing it to GELLNER, he remarked, “I am fine with it being copied, but we were the first ones to launch it, that’s something I always claim.”
The name of this ring is quite intriguing as well – Modern Classic, a literal contradiction in terms. I asked Jörg about this interesting paradox and he explained it very succinctly. “At the time it was first launched, the ring was considered very modern, but now it’s a classic.” So true!
Over the years, the design of the ring has undergone several changes but, in essence, it hasn’t veered much from Mürle’s original idea. When it was launched in the mid 1990s, it was an Akoya pearl and gold ring. Today, the Modern Classic ring collection features South Sea and Tahitian pearls as well as Ming Freshwater pearls. Also, while the earlier versions of the ring were much wider, over time, the shanks have become sleeker with some rings showcasing pave-set diamond accents as well. The Modern Classic collection now features four basic ring styles within which there are a number of variations. However, the one thing that has not changed in all this time is the beauty of the pearl! GELLNER has never compromised on the quality of the pearl set in a Modern Classic piece. It is always perfectly spherical, sharply lustrous, gem quality pearl.
The newest additions to the Modern Classic universe are the Marutea Modern Classic rings. At present there are five different shimmering colours of Marutea Tahitian pearls available in this tension-set style, ranging from deep grey with sharp peacock overtones all the way to light silver with green-gold orient. Mounted in highly polished white, yellow or rose gold, each Marutea Modern Classic ring is a jewel of exquisite beauty.
So, while the world was in lockdown last year, at GELLNER a jewellery landmark was being celebrated -the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first Modern tension ring. The design of the ring is as fresh and unique as ever. A classic piece which is forever looking towards the future, a modern ring which retains its air of timeless style.
You many also be interested in A Conversation with Jörg Gellner, CEO of GELLNER Pearls
Featured Image: South Sea Cultured Pearl, Diamond and 18K Rose Gold Modern Classic Ring
All images used in this post are the property of GELLNER Pearls. Any person or organization not affiliated with GELLNER Pearls may not use, copy, alter or modify any of the images used in this post, without the advance written permission of GELLNER Pearls.