It seems that the trend cycle is faster than ever; one day everyone obsessively swoons over a social media trend, and the next season it’s nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, there are timeless and minimalist trends, making them easy to keep relevant not just for one season, but for decades. The modernity of pearl jewelry hits that sweet spot: long-term wearability makes a new strand or set of earrings worth investing in.
The organic gemstone has been enjoyed across countless eras, as historical icons like Queen Elizabeth I, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Cleopatra were fans; and yet it is still undeniably coveted today. “I liken it to almost the same way societal expectations of women have changed over time,” says Alicia Sandve, founder of It-girl-loved jewelry brand HEYMAEVE. “Gone are the days when perfection is everything, now we learn to embrace and love each other as we are, imperfections and all. It’s powerful,” Sandve told TZR.
These days, pearl jewelry isn’t just found in the singular, uniform strand that initially comes to mind. While mid-20th century preppy strands represented exclusivity, the latest iterations embrace the shift to inclusivity and a more laid-back sensibility. Now the market is filled with unique options for every wearer; from dramatic black pearl earrings to a whimsical necklace adorned with colorful pearls and baroque pearls, there really is something for everyone.
So forget what you thought you knew about this classic gemstone and rediscover pearl jewelry through these five rising trends.
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In the past, pearl jewelry had country club connotations, not everyday jewelry. These days, pearl jewelry can be as accessible as any other option in your arsenal. “They’re less about status, or about polish and elegance; instead, they’ve become a really playful addition to jewelry collections while also serving as a reminder of their elegant past,” says Fiona Morrison, founder and creative director of demi-fine jewelry brand Wolf Circus. Opt for a piece that feels wearable, like a simple gold necklace chain, twisted band or small hoop earrings, punctuated with the simple elegance of a pearl to pair perfectly with your favorite stack.
Even if you’ve written off classic pearl jewelry in the past, it’s hard to deny the deft craftsmanship that has gone into these new iterations. Designers everywhere in the market have taken an abstract approach, creating jewelry that might as well be a sculpture at MoMA. It makes a remarkable statement in your mix of balls.
It’s time to think about the past the tried and true white pearl and try some color. “We’ve expanded our love of pearls by introducing black pearls, which have a super special colored iridescence,” says Morrison. “Our foray into black and freshwater baroque pearls brings a truly modern and organic Wolf Circus twist to the classics,” she says. In addition to black, you might not realize that pearls come in brilliant greys, pinks, greens and purples. The next time you’re looking for a new strand, consider an eye-catching color that matches your personal aesthetic.
Unlike the uniform perfection of the classic spherical pearl, Baroque options are valued for their irregularity – in fact, they first gained popularity during the Renaissance as they were highly sought after for their unique beauty. Imperfection looks less difficult than a traditional version of pearls. If you’re looking to subtly test the trend, opt for a piece where the pearl acts as a pendant – or, bolder options include a full strand of baroque pearls.
The mixed approach to pearl jewelry offers a modern twist on a classic by pairing it with a variety of other gemstones and pearls; Plus, it allows the creator and wearer to show off their creativity for a personalized touch. Taking a functional approach, Marisa Hordern of semi-fine jewelry brand Missoma says “the single pearl pendants on our necklaces and hoops can be removed and added to any other piece” for a mix-and-match twist. Sandve leans on trends while adhering to the HEYMAEVE style code – and the label’s Kiss Me necklace is a prime example. “We also like to add gold charms to a classic beaded choker, giving us the ultimate, yet high Y2K vibes,” she says.