The Resurgence of Pearls in Modern Luxury Fashion
Pearls. They invoke a classic image of legendary icons Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
But if you think pearls are only associated with old-fashioned trends, think again. Not only are traditional pearl pieces versatile enough to be incorporated into any modern wardrobe, but they are also a number of contemporary styles and innovations now taking the pearl market by storm.
These lustrous gems have captivated hearts for centuries and continue to amaze in the 21st century. Designers and fashion enthusiasts are embracing pearls in innovative and unexpected ways, breathing new life into the classic accessory.
The Pearl’s Long and Trading History
Pearls are the oldest known gemstone and the only one created by a living creature. Because of this, the pearl has long been a symbol of sophistication, wealth and power. Known as the “Queen of Gems,” pearls have been coveted for millennia and are arguably one of the natural world's greatest treasures.
The first known instance of pearls used for jewellery was when they were presented to the Chinese royalty in 2300 BC. Since then, the gemstone has been worn by royals from every culture and era throughout history.
Ancient Egyptians used mother-of-pearl frequently in decorative pots and jewellery. Whilst in Ancient Rome, pearls indicated that an individual came from great wealth or another high status, setting themselves apart from the rest of the general public.
During the 15th century, pearls were discovered in Central and South Africa, leading to the period known as the ‘Pearl Age.’ From this era, pearls were worn as a form of adornment for centuries and became a symbol of nobility, status and power across many different cultures. Over this period, the pearl trade boomed in Elizabethan England, and Queen Elizabeth I was painted wearing pearls in many of her portraits.
To this day, pearls are still worn by royals. Queen Elizabeth II was rarely seen without her iconic three-strand pearl necklace. She wore it so often; it became a part of her postage stamp image. The tradition continues with the current working royals; the Duchess of Cambridge wears a pair of Baroque pearl drop earrings, for example.
The Modern Western Meaning of Pearls
Today, pearls have been given several associations and meanings. From elegance, sophistication and refinement to purity and innocence, pearls are a valuable gem that can mean so much to so many people.
Pearls are often worn to large and grand events, such as galas, charity events, and weddings. The latter may be because Greeks believed that pearls were God’s tears, and wearing them on your wedding day would prevent tears from falling.
While many myths and legends surround pearls, they are most widely recognised as a symbol of love, wisdom, innocence, and good luck.
Pearls in Vintage Fashion
Pearls are significant in vintage fashion, often associated with classic and retro styles. These include pearl pendants necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets, and bangles.
Pearl embellishments and trims, such as buttons, gloves, handbags, and shoes, were also popular. They played a pivotal role in defining the refined and classic aesthetic of vintage fashion eras and continue to inspire modern fashion trends.
How to Wear Pearls Today
Pearls have a distinctive look that makes them effortless and allows them to collaborate with other gems, metals, and materials. Over time, they have become classic pieces not reserved only as jewellery for rare occasions but instead a go-to choice for those wanting to elevate their current style.
For example, these stunning cultured pearl and diamond drop earrings elegantly combine two timeless gems, allowing them both to stand out and flourish while not being overpowered by the other. The piece is brought together in a harmonious union with 18ct white gold and is available from New Cavendish Jewellers for £2,100.00.
However, if you are looking for something that embodies the love and innocence that pearls symbolise, why not have a South Sea Cultured Pearl Graduate Choker? This choker is crafted from 18ct white gold for an elegant finish, featuring a chain of rounded pearls and an oval-shaped diamond clasp. This piece is perfect for adding a timeless feel to any outfit; whether you are attending a formal event or everyday wear, our pearl choker will turn heads. This is available at New Cavendish Jewellers at £17,500.00.
Personal style and individual preferences significantly influence how you wear pearls. Whether you opt for a traditional, minimalist approach or embrace a more daring and creative interpretation, pearls offer endless possibilities for self-expression and can be incorporated into your daily fashion choices.
The resurgence of pearls in modern luxury fashion is a testament to their enduring appeal and timeless elegance. Designers have given these treasured gems a new lease of life by embracing their versatility and incorporating them in innovative ways. From high fashion runaways to the red carpet, pearls have captivated the fashion world once more.
You can browse our entire collection of pearl jewellery online or visit us in our London store to view the pieces in person. Contact us today to discuss our options for jewellery on finance and discover your next perfect piece.