During the Duke and Duchess’ whirlwind tour of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga, the Duchess received this rare necklace from Fiji’s J Hunter Pearls.
New York—All eyes were on newly royal, and newly pregnant, Meghan Markle during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recent royal tour of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga.

The highly publicized tour was the Duchess’ largest royal engagement since getting engaged to the Duke of Sussex, née Prince Harry, last year and the first time she was photographed since the announcement of her pregnancy.

20181112 Markle insertA close-up of the incredible natural colors featured in “The Sussex Strand”
And it was also a shining moment for pearl jewelry.

While in Fiji, J Hunter Fiji pearls presented the duchess with a multicolor 18-inch pearl necklace with 18-karat gold clasp, which the company named “The Sussex Strand.”

The 37 high-grade naturally multi-colored (meaning not dyed) cultured pearls range from rare green and blue shades to gold and black. They are a product of the Pinctada Margaritifera-Typica oyster, a sub-species of the black-lipped Tahitian oyster.

“The water is different in the Savusavu Bay, and the oyster shells are more vivid, with a rainbow display of pearls that is intoxicating,” explained Christina Assael, chairman of Assael, which is the sole North American distributor of pearls from J Hunter Fiji’s limited supply.
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Assael encountered the gems two years ago in Fiji, where the pearls are produced in small farms in cooperation with local villages around Savusavu Bay, sustaining the local economy.

Assael said it will produce a limited number of “The Sussex Strand” necklaces, similar to the style the Duchess of Sussex received, so even non-royals can appreciate and enjoy the rare specimens.

Editor's note: This story was corrected post-publication to clarify the fact that the pearls are not naturally occurring; they are cultured but the color is natural.

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