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Trending 17 February 2021

Pearl Necklaces: The Unexpected Jewellery Trend We’re Loving

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but this season, we’re making a case for pearls.

From the Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite, who was believed to have shed pearls for tears, to contemporary masterpieces such as The Girl With the Pearl Earring, this glistening ocean treasure has long been a symbol of beauty and wealth. In 2021, pearls are again getting well-deserved pageantry at fashion runways the world over.


Words By Eleanor Wilson

Classic

Nestled in the shells of freshwater molluscs, pearls are the only gem formed and sold without any further enhancement, making them incredibly rare and sought after. And while their sheer popularity means only one per cent of today’s pearls are naturally occurring, consumers still can’t seem to get enough of their pearlescent lustre.

And the popularity of this glistening sea gem has reached new heights of late, thanks to a suit of male celebrities who are popularising the pearl necklace as a gender-neutral accessory.

Layered delicately alongside Gucci suits and ruffled shirts, the button pearl necklace is a staple for pop heartthrob Harry Styles. Fellow artists Shawn Mendes and Asap Rocky have also jumped on the trend, pairing their jewels with button down satin shirts and casual printed sweaters.

We think The Alix Yang Rococo Choker is the perfect pilot for gender-fluid accessorising, whether you’re styling a statement festival shirt in the warmer months, or layering your beads under a shirt and wool sweater in the winter time.

Alix Yang Rococo Choker, $159, The Iconic

Baroque

In Hollywood’s Golden Era, the décolleté of stars from Grace Kelly to Audrey Hepburn were often ornamented with graceful strands of shiny, perfectly round pearls. But in 2021, the humble pearl has taken a more unique shape, quite literally. Baroque pearls, loved for their organic, non-spherical shape, have grown to guide a modern jewellery revival, bringing an asymmetrical flair to a conventionally polished classic.

British Jewellery brand Alighieri is one such brand shining the light on imperfection. Launching in 2014, the label’s trademark gold-plated medallions provide a welcome contrast to the soft pearlescent glow of their baroque pearls, resulting in an illustrious collection of statement pendants.

We adore the Alighieri Refrain of the Night Necklace, which features a gold-plated medallion-style pendant, chunky cable chain and, of course, glossy baroque pearl.

Alighieri The Refrain of the Night 24kt Gold-plated Necklace, $545, Matches Fashion

Chokers

As if the early noughties weren’t giving us enough style inspiration right now, the trend gods have once again pointed us in the direction of the grungy choker. But, this time around we are swapping out our black velvet and stretchy elastic for a material with a bit more shine.

Pioneered by Vivienne Westwood’s cult-classic Mini Bas Relief necklace, the pearl choker is a style trend making its way into the collections of jewellery lovers everywhere. Alongside the house of Westwood, pearls have radiated on the runways of many designer collections this season. Irish designer Simone Rocha presented a pearl-laden SS21 collection fit with king-sized pearl ‘egg’ clutches, while Khaite had us in awe of their Spring 2020 pearl adorned head pieces.

And much like the baroque pearl, pearl chokers are all about expressing the beauty in peculiarity. This Anita Berisha Gold-Tone Pearl Choker fuses mother of pearl discs with bundles of organic freshwater pearl, recreating the virgin pearl with sheer beauty. Coupled with muted brown tones and leather sandals, this necklace is a perfect summer accessory for beach-side afternoons basking in salty sea air.

Anita Berisha Gold-tone Pearl Choker, was $619.14 now $247.65, Net-A-Porter

Colour

Colourful beaded jewellery is undoubtedly sending style fanatics into a craze this summer, and it’s one of the easiest ways to add colour and fun to even the most monochromatic wardrobe.

While at first glance, integrating colourful glass beads with luxury pearls may seem like an improbable match, it may just be the ultimate statement accessory of 2021. Lively rainbow beading gives the seasoned pearl a youthful lifeline, while pearls act to elevate the piece, ensuring your jewellery is both elegant and effervescent.

We recommend pairing your colourful pearls with a crisp white shirt or one shoulder crop, cardi and wide leg cream jeans for a structured, yet simple look. Couple your outfit with colourful nail art for added coordination.

Venessa Arizaga Giggles Necklace, $224.91, Shopbop

Pearl Look

Let’s be honest, some of us don’t quite have the budget to splash on precious freshwater pearls, which is why we can thank the pearl gods for more affordable options.

In the early 1900s, aiming to make pearls available to all classes, Japanese entrepreneur Kokichi Mikimoto created the first cultured pearl. Since then, pearl farming has made its mark as a lucrative industry, raking in millions of dollars in profits each year. While completely authentic, their abundance means cultured pearls hold less value when compared with their natural occurring sea-gem-sisters.

In addition to cultured pearls, imitation pearls, which are beads designed to resemble real pearls, are also an economical alternative when you want an opulent look, without the price tag.

The Dear Addison Storm Dancer Necklace features a long cultured baroque pearl and yellow gold- plated lily -pad shaped disc, resulting in a lavish look necklace, perfect for layering with gold chains and rings.

Kozakh Sam Necklace, was $164.51 now $115.51, Shopbop