Meet the Designer: A Chat with Sean Gilson, Designer of the New Bubbles Collection

Thirty-five-year design veteran Sean Gilson has made many a fabulous style over his long career, but his most recent collection for Assael breathes fresh life into the traditional category of pearls. Enter Bubbles, a fresh new spin on the classic cluster-style, featuring white South Sea and Akoya pearls.

Sean Gilson Large Bubble Ring
Sean Gilson for Assael Large Bubble Ring

“I’ve has always been enchanted with pearls and thought bubbles were a natural fit,” he explains. “They are perfect forms but have variation and nuance that fit neatly into simple forms made into complex shapes. Pearls have always been ripe for innovation, taking them out of the stodgy perception into modernity. Bubbles are a perfect embodiment of timeless but innovative jewelry.”

Bubble Bangle Bracelet
Bubble Bangle Bracelet

Also important: wearability across a myriad of scenarios and real-life situations—“All day and evening wearability was key,” notes Peggy Grosz, Director of Business and Product Development. But the bigger obstacle may have been working with white pearls, which are traditionally worn as strands. “Some people ‘think outside the box’ – we think outside the strand! The challenge is to create young and sophisticated pearl pieces with South Sea and Akoya pearls to look fresh and show their modern wearability,” adds Grosz.

CONTEMPORARY BUBBLE EARRINGS
LEFT: CONTEMPORARY BUBBLE SMALL RING. RIGHT: CONTEMPORARY BUBBLE EARRINGS

Another hurdle? To show that pearls could command a presence on their own without diamonds. For sure, the bar has been set high for future pearl aesthetics given that Bubbles is Gilson’s antidote to more traditional pearls.  “I want to make pearl jewelry that is simple and relevant to the way women wish to wear jewelry today,” he says. “My aim is to make pearl jewelry that is timeless, and I believe Bubbles meets that goal.”

Sean Gilson for Assael New Bubble Collection
Sean Gilson for Assael New Bubble Collection

Style-wise, expect to find in Bubbles sophisticated and clever bracelets with fizzy pearl stations perched on gold cuffs, balloonesque stud-like styles for the ears that cluster boldly or demurely depending on the number of pearls used, robust pendant necklaces, and darling effervescent cocktail rings designed to elicit heady elixirs of luster. And as charming as the white styles are, darker-color Tahitian pearls will soon join their bright siblings in the playful compositions for which Bubbles has become known.