Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pearls, pearls, pearls! An ETSY success... and SEEING REDS

Today we're adding a new feature: Seeing Reds: At the bottom of our Sunday post a list of events where you can find your favorite Reds...
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.

Here’s me wearing them at my book launch.

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.

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.

I know custom orders are your speciality. What’s your most challenging custom order?

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.

How did you get into the pearl business?

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

Tuesday 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


  1. Pearls or diamonds? Can a girl love both?
    The necklace is beautiful . . . the perfect accessory for your book tour. Hope it's as wonderful as the book.

  2. Thanks, Joan - I love wearing them!

  3. I love those pearls--what a terrific story. I was visiting the day the samples came in the mail...what fun!

    I could get lost in Etsy--so many cool little shops. But the only thing I've actually bought so far is tutus:)

  4. A fairly lengthy strand of Spanish cultured pearls saw me through law school and years of law practice. Can't imagine wearing diamonds to court, but pearls go anywhere!

    Love your pink ones!

  5. Welcome, Sharon — and congratulations. Your shop is amazing and those pink pearls are not only gorgeous but absolutely perfect for Hallie's readings. I'm a huge Etsy fan and love supporting independent artists.

  6. oh! Pearls! I am such a lover of pearls, and I love Etsy. You found quite a treasure with Sharon Knowles, I must say. You love lovely.

  7. Sharon sounds like a character for a cozy series! Pearls go everywhere. Sticking in a few tiny diamonds every now and then can't hurt. Nice article.

  8. Oh, Sharon--so gorgeous! And you are living the dream.

    I adore pearls...and I bet I wear them at every event. I am off to your shop!

    Hallie's gorgeous pearls--what do you call that length? Is that "opera"? What are the names for each style?

    Thank you so much for this!

  9. Pearls. Definitely pearls! They go everywhere.

  10. On the length of mine... I measured how long I wanted them to be and sent the measurement to Sharon. She makes it all to order so you can get any length you want! And pick the clasp.

  11. Pearls are magical to me. You put pearls on, and you are immediately transformed to a state of classic beauty, no matter that I'm not beautiful. And, what's especially lovely for me is that I can trace back my magical fascination with pearls to, well, a comic book I read growing up. I know there must be readers here who remember the Classics Illustrated Junior Comics. Well, The Pearl Princess was a favorite one for me. And, fast forward to present day, and I still consider pearls magical.

    Hallie, the first time I saw your cover for Night Night, Sleep Tight, I fell in love with those pink pearls. Then, the set that you wore for your book launch were/are perfect. To have a back story on those pearls is yet another treat in the enjoyment of this novel. Sharon, your creation for Hallie is so gorgeous. I will be going to your Etsy page after posting these comments.

    I agree, Lucy, that it's easy to get lost in all the unique and creative shops on Etsy. Tutus? For you? My daughter's sister-in-law is a jewelry artist and one place she sells is through Etsy. I've bought some great book items there, too, which were unavailable elsewhere.

  12. Hallie, I love your pink pearls! I've never had pearls, but I'm going to check out Sharon's Etsy shop.

    Sharon, such a great idea for a business, and I love your customer service. Is it okay to wear pearls with sweaters and leggings? If it is, I need some:-)

  13. Totally fascinating post - and gorgeous picture of you with book cover! Your pearls are simply to die for! Thelma Straw in warming Manhattan

  14. I actually have a single strand of pink pearls. I've had them for many years and love them. But my favorites are my freshwater pearls.

  15. Debs, if you can't wear pearls with jeans that could explain my social calendar.

  16. Etsy is such a great resource! And I love the pink pearls. Rarely wear them, myself, but I do have a double strand that were my mom's - not valuable, I'm sure, but lovely. I might need to bring them out more often.

  17. Hallie, you and your pearls look lovely! I hope you are enjoying your book tour.

    As for pearls or diamonds, it's pearls always and forever, since I was a kid. I don't really care for diamonds - I like colored stones.

    Sharon, your work and your Etsy shop are marvelous! You are now a favorite.

  18. Debs - YES! Definitely. I have a long strand of pearls Donald gave me for my 40th birthday. My favorite thing to wear them with is boots, leggings, a white shirt and a scarf

  19. Boots and leggings? Another reason to go shopping!

  20. LOVE this! As an Etsy shop owner myself, it is great to see an Etsy seller get some much-deserved recognition! The pearls are gorgeous. I hope Sharon gets a lot of orders from your blog!

  21. I've seen Hallie's pearls, and they are stunning! Loved the back story on these!

  22. I adore pearls, and will have to go to Sharon's shop the next time I'm in the market!

    One of the things I love about her story is how it illustrates an often overlooked trend: women entrepreneurs. Women have been starting their own businesses at a much higher rate than men for two decades now, and Forbes Magazine estimates that by 2018 HALF the small-business jobs in the US will be with women-led businesses. And it all starts with someone like Sharon having a good idea and putting the work into it!


  23. Beautiful! The cover is beautiful and you and your pearls are even more so. I thought about getting pearls, but can you wear them with t-shirts?
    I finished Come and Find Me this morning (only able to sleep last night because Diana did) . . . almost late to teach tai chi because I couldn't stop until I got to the last word. Hugs!

  24. I've liked pink pearls since childhood. They're so pretty.

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