Fresh, dynamic and sexy - these pearls come with a lot of promise although, it has to be said, the individual pieces gleaming before me really do look as exquisite as the glossy brochure suggests.
Edgy bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and watches created by Misaki are now exclusively to be found at Tanagra outlets in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

It is the first time the Monaco-based brand has been sold in the Emirates, having previously only been available in a few stores across the Middle East.

While Misaki has built its reputation largely through duty free and sales onboard around 80 airlines worldwide, its latest venture reflects its emergence in department stores and selected jewellery chains in recent years.

The man driving Misaki to be at the forefront of pearl design is Philipp Wille, managing director and a partner in the company for the last year.

Immaculately turned out and with the sharp business acumen expected of one with more than two decades of experience in the world of finance, it is clear the company is capable hands.

Wille, aged 42, grew up in Austria and was educated in England. Despite having had a desire to become an artist, he followed his father's advice and opted for a solid career in banking.

Now fate has enabled him to bring together his contrasting talents at the helm of Misaki.

He says: "I am a businessman who has neglected his creative side for many years. That's why coming back to something like this, where it really has both business and creativity, is the ideal combination."


Before taking on the role, Wille spent a year as a consultant for his father's enamelled jewellery company, Frey Wille, where he focused on the industry and developing new markets.

By listening to customer feedback at Misaki, Wille has streamlined the product to be a modern force among its competitors.

Thanks to his influence, Misaki is advertising for the first time in its 20-year history.

Its Pearl Your Life slogan accompanies sexy images of bronzed beauties enjoying a life of luxury in the sunshine while wearing Misaki pearls.

The aim, says Wille, is to demonstrate that pearl jewellery is for everyday use.

He says, "Pearls can be worn in many ways, even on jeans or in hair - they are very versatile. We are trying to show people how they can wear relatively traditional pearl necklaces in a modern way, just by tying a knot for example. We offer a modern interpretation of classic designs of the past."


A handful of top designers work to show off Misaki's emulated and cultured pearls in the best setting against quality materials such as handmade Murano glass, fine leather and crystal.
By crafting three-quarters of the collection with the company's patented X-treme Lustre pearls, the unique designs remain affordable to the woman on the street with majority of products costing around £300 (Dh1,350).
Wille says pearls have been loved for their inherent beauty for thousands of years, but, he says, "You rarely, if ever, see pearls in the way they are presented in our new collection. We want people to know that when they come to Misaki they will see lots of new, different and creative ways of using pearl jewellery."

Cultured pearls include:
- Freshwater: grown in mussels that live in freshwater lakes and rivers. Generally, smaller irritants  are used resulting in up to 20 pearls per mussel.

- Akoya: these pearls are usually more round than others because a bead as well as a piece of mantle is placed inside the oyster.

- White South Sea: grown in large tropical and semi-tropical oysters in countries in the Pacific Ocean. Due to the size of the oysters, the pearls can be bigger and are therefore more expensive. They are formed in many colours such as white with shades of gold, silver, blue and pink.

- Black South Sea or Tahitian Pearls: grown in black-lipped oysters in the South Pacific Ocean. Typically large and coloured grey, silver blue, green and black.

- Mabe: grown against the inside shell of an oyster and known as half pearls characterised by their hemispherical shape.

- Keshi: small pieces of pearl which are by-products of pearl culturing, usually coloured silver white to silver grey and sometimes rice shaped.

When choosing pearls, consider the following:
- Lustre - a pearl's value comes largely from the quality of its lustre, a combination of surface brilliance and a deep-seated glow. The lustre of a good quality pearl should be bright, not dull, and you should be able to see your own reflection clearly on the surface. The deeper the lustre and iridescence, the more precious the pearl. Any pearl that is too white, dull or chalky in appearance is considered low quality.

- Surface - check for disfiguring spots, bumps or cracks on the surface of a pearl. The cleaner the surface of the pearl, the more valuable.

- Shape - it is very rare to find a perfectly round natural or cultured pearl, therefore these are the most valuable.

- Necklace length ? generally, shorter necklaces flatter long necks while long necklaces suit smaller necks.

- Colour - buy pearls that complement your skin tone. For light skin, white or pink pearls work well while darker complexions tend to suit black or lavender pearls.

- Size - natural and cultured pearls can range from 1mm to 20mm in diameter. Generally, larger pearls are more valuable as long as the other important elements are of high quality.