HALLIEEPHRON: When I saw the cover of my new book, I knew what I needed for my book events. Pearls. PINK pearls, to be precise. I imagined a long, double-strand, lustrous and glowing against the little black dress which, of course, I had to buy to go with it.
My search took me to ETSY where I spotted these pearls at WhitePearlGem. They looked gorgeous and were priced at WELL under $100.
The shop said they specialized in custom orders, so I sent a copy of the book cover and wrote a note that began:
I'm a mystery author going on tour with a new book that has pink pearls on the cover...
Back came an answer from Sharon Knowles in Tennessee:
“Those are 10mm South Sea Shell Pearls in pink with cotton knotting (you can tell because the knots are too big).”
Sharon made me this knockout hand-knotted (so if I break it I won’t lose the pearls) necklace of said South Sea Shell Pearls -- man-made from the dust of real pearls, seven layers painted on top of a real sea shell bead.
Sharon designs and makes all WhitePearlGem’s jewelry. When she says she takes “customer service” seriously, she is not kidding. And aside from her wonderful pearl jewelry, she’s a fan of mystery novels.
And, because turnabout is fair play, here's Sharon with her copy of
my book and wearing a gorgeous necklace of her own design.
SHARON KNOWLES: I cut my I teeth on Erle Stanley Gardner, then Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe, I fell in love with Archie in my 20's, but I moved on because he wasn't getting any older!
I thought when I retired, I would sew and make quilts. My machine collects dust and I don't even hem pants. I play with beads and its wonderful. I started a hobby to occupy me while I take care of my 85-year-old mother, and my hobby turned into a profitable business. Who would have thought?
I talk to loads of women on Etsy looking for help with events and weddings. I solve problems. It's a big change from caring for the dying.
HALLIE: I know custom orders are your speciality. What’s your most challenging custom order?
SHARON: That's easy. Had a Lady send me photos of a "mauve dress" and wanted a match for her sons wedding. Every time, photos of the dress, a different color! Mauve is very hard to photograph. She also, sent me a photo of a $650 necklace she had seen in a dress shop.
She said the end result, was better than the original. Total cost $110.00 for the set.
HALLIE: How did you get into the pearl business?
SHARON: I have been a stock broker, a private trader, and when my daughter was born I wanted to stay home so I traded on-line from home. When she was four I opened a small day care.
Then I took a break for 2 years, till boredom set in and a friend convinced me to go to work with her cleaning houses. I ended up starting my own company and stayed with that for 5-6 years. Then I went to work as a private-duty nurse for about 6 years.
I started a shop on Etsy in 2008 and opened the Pearl shop in 2012 -- I wanted to focus on Pearls. Etsy had almost no Pearls then, and nothing hand knotted.
HALLIE: Why pearls?
SHARON: I wanted to own Pearls. Good pearls are expensive or can be.
I have always been good at research from my days of trading stocks for a living. So I studied and researched and learned about Pearls. I learned how to hand knot and how to buy good pearls, instead of junk. I figured out how to go directly to the source. I have a regular supplier in China for quality pearls whom I have used for almost 15 years.
HALLIE: Thank you Sharon. Your story is so inspiring! And did I mention: I LOVE MY PEARLS!
So Reds... How about you? Do you love pearls, or are diamonds your best friends? Dreaming here, of course...
SEEING REDS: Where you can find us
HallieTuesday 3/31 @7:30 Melrose MA Public Library
Thursday 4/2 @7 PM BookEnds in Winchester MA
Saturday 4/4 @2 PM Brookline MA Public Library with Roseanne Montillo
Monday 4/6 @7 PM Weymouth MA Public Library
Tuesday 4/7 @6:30 PM Buttonwood Books Cohasset MA with Holly Robinson
Wednesday 4/8 @7:30 PM Sweetser Lecture Series Wakefield MA
Thursday 4/9 @7 PM RJ Julia Madison CT
Friday 4/10 @12:15 PM Bank Square Books in Mystic CT
Monday, 4/6 @7 PM Brookline Booksmith interviewing Michael Sears, Brookline MA
Tuesday 4/ 7 @7 PM Newton Free Library Newton MA
Thursday 4/9 @7:30 AM Habitat for Humanity North Central MA "Women Build" Breakfast, Keynote Speaker Sterling MA
Saturday 4/11 Maynard Library Book Festival with Archer Mayor and Norton Juster
Sunday 4/12 @9:30 AM, Lyceum at First Parish Church, Bedford MA Keynote Speaker
Wednesday 4/8, Belmont Library, Belmont, CA