Pearls As You’ve Never Seen Them

By Cynthia Sliwa — December 05, 2014

When I launched the blog in September 2013, one of my first posts enthusiastically saluted the classic strand of pearls. In my blog post of September 13, 2013, I noted that this wardrobe staple has returned to the spotlight.

pearls 0914 reprint 0513 pearls May Vogue vintage single strand pearl necklace REV

Illustration: Model Cara Delevingne wears a classic pearl necklace from Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Lt. and Dior’s glass pearl “Mise en Dior” earrings in a look from the May2013 issue of Vogue.

The embrace of traditional pearl designs by the fashion world was notable as early as spring 2013, and I had previously commented on this in my May 27, 2013 blog post for in “Pearls: Spring 2013 Update.”  I  noted:  “Lest all the classic pearl strands and button earrings be too staid for its readers, Vogue, in its April 2013 issue, bifurcates its coverage of pearls with a page devoted to nontraditional looks, “Not Your Mother’s Pearls.”

Part of the reason for the creative new designs has to do with the pearls themselves. As reported by Jennifer Heebner in the September 2014 issue of JCK Magazine  (publication for the jewelry industry), “Recent advances in pearl farming methods have given rise to soufflé pearls–large, lustrous nucleus-free freshwaters that are lighter in weight than traditional pearls–as well as bead-nucleated South Bea baroques . . . that are often mistaken for super-sized keshi.” In addition there are “Ming pearls,” also called “Edison pearls,” which are “freshwaters round to baroque in shape, and available in white to natural lavender-peach colors with golden to bronze top hues.” Heebner notes: “All these varieties have, not surprisingly, led to a great appreciation of pearls among designers.”

pearls 0914 JCK Souffle 72dpi REV

Among the designs featured in the September 2014 issue of JCK Magazine are strands of Ming pearls with 18kt gold dragonfly and butterfly motifs and diamonds from Tanya Farah, and banana hoop earrings in 18kt gold with baroque pearls and sapphires by Gabrielle Sanchez.

Not your mother’s pearls, indeed. The extraordinary range of designs that have incorporated these beautiful gems of the sea merits extended discussion. More on fashion editorial coverage of the trend  will follow in my upcoming posts.

Price Check:

  • Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Ltd.:  classic pearl strand  (5/13 Vogue), price upon request
  • Gabrielle Sanchez: 18kt gold hoop earrings with baroque pearls and sapphires (9/14 JCK), $1,750
  • Tanya Farah:  Ming pearls with 18kt gold dragonfly and butterfly motifs and diamonds (9/14 JCK), $8,360

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