How to Wear Pearls

Lustrous, precious and unique, pearls have been worn and treasured for thousands of years.

You appreciate their beauty, but maybe you aren’t sure how to make them work for you. You’ve got questions. Can pearls be worn every day? Are they appropriate for all styles? 

Lucky for you, we’ve got the answers you’ve been searching for when it comes to how to wear pearl jewelry

Pearls are absolutely appropriate for any fashion-forward individual, whether you’re styling a pearl bracelet, necklace or earrings. They can be called upon to serve as an everyday style staple or they can be saved as a look-elevating accessory for a special occasion. 

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you shop and style these underwater gems. Read on to learn how to wear pearls with confidence.

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Classic Styles

Pearls have a long reputation as the go-to accessory for society’s upper crust. From Coco Chanel to Cleopatra, they’ve been worn by the rich and famous for thousands of years. 

Back in the day, pearls were extremely rare and expensive. Thankfully, they’re much more attainable these days. In fact, some cultured freshwater pearls are a downright bargain. There are plenty of ways to wear pearls that give a subtle nod to their rich history, without falling prey to an outdated silhouette or spending a small fortune. Whether you’re styling them for chic, casual wear or as the best wedding jewelry accessories for a classic bride, pearls are timeless, elegant, and versatile.

Channel history’s greatest taste-makers with these classic styles.

The Single Strand

A single strand of pearls is a timeless, iconic look. A necklace of well-matched pearls that offset your skin tone can turn almost any outfit into a subtly glamorous ensemble.

You can choose any length of necklace that suits you. Of course, fewer pearls will typically equal a smaller price tag and a pearl choker pairs well with nearly anything.

Here are just a few clothing options to style your strand:

  • A pair of pumps, a little black dress and an upswept hairdo are the ideal choice for an Audrey Hepburn-inspired outfit.
  • Try balancing the feminine quality of a strand of pearls with tailored pants and a crisp white dress shirt. Heeled loafers are a must!
  • Your pearls will make a sensual statement when paired with a cold-shoulder blouse, a flared jeans and a wedge shoe.

The Studs

If pearl necklaces peak your interest, try a pair of pearl earring studs or drop earrings. Every earring-wearer needs a pair of pearl studs. They’re definitely essential, but they’re anything but basic.

Pearl studs are perfect for practically any occasion. Wear them with a vintage tee, boyfriend jeans and a pair of sneakers to meet friends for brunch. Then, transition them to nighttime with a slinky dress and strappy shoes.

And of course, pearl studs are the ideal accessory to achieve instant class for an important meeting. A pair of pearl studs will keep you looking professional and put together, even on those dry shampoo days.

Glamorous Pairings

The understated glamor of pearl can accentuate and add value to other styles of jewelry. Combining different tones of metal and types of gemstones is one way to elevate a look from classy to opulent.

Layered Necklaces

Pearl necklaces and bracelets—from full strands to single pearl pendants—layer well with other pieces. Here are a few ideas to appeal to different aesthetics:

  • Sophisticated in silver With a cuban link chain, a delicate tree-branch necklace and a pearl pendant stacked atop a designer shirtdress, you can take on networking cocktails and art gallery openings with verve.
  • 80s glam – Layer strands of pearls with oversized costume jewelry. In a corset top and pair of jeans (or a poofy white skirt) and you’ll be serving Madonna circa 1984.
  • Pretty pairing – Stack rose gold bangles with this delicate Sienna bracelet. Wear them with a sundress, sandals and a wide brim hat for a charming and cheerful combination.

Set With Stones

Add some sass to the classic pearl studs by picking up a pair of double gem earrings. Made with 14 karat gold, cultured pearls and brilliant round-cut Nexus Diamond™ alternatives, these studs will make you stand out at the country club, on the tennis court, or attending a gala. Styling pearls and stones means you don’t have to choose between pearls vs diamonds and other gems.

Modern Takes

Some may complain the pearls are old-fashioned, but those in the know understand that they’re perpetually in vogue. 

With young mega-stars like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles sporting pearls on the red carpet, there’s no question about whether pearls can be considered “in.” 

If anything, they’re more of a fashion trend lately. In fact, the current popularity of pearls goes beyond glitzy, star-studded events. Justin Bieber and Harry Styles have both been spotted wearing strands of pearls out on the town, incorporating them into everyday looks with t-shirts, oversized polos and beanies.

Whatever your gender, whatever your style, there’s a way to make pearls work for you.

Bold Styling

The most important rule for a modern look featuring pearl accessories is to blend them into your unique personal style.  After all, being yourself is all the rage these days. 

If you wear bright colors, cargo pants and platform shoes, use pearls to—quite literally—reflect the strong hues in your palette. If your style tends toward sleek and monochrome, a teardrop pearl necklace on a silver chain will make a subtle statement.

Choose the style of pearl accessory that you’re naturally drawn to, even if it isn’t the trendiest or most talked about.  What you wear is a reflection of who you are—be true to yourself.

Alternative Settings

There are all kinds of creative pearl pieces on the market today. Experiment with alternative settings for pearls to find one that fits your fashion sense. Here are a few options to consider:

  • These pearl threader earrings give an edgy twist to the tried-and-true pearl stud. We think they look stunning when paired with a structured black jacket and a pair of Chelsea boots.
  • Mysterious and a little witchy, these crescent pearl studs are perfect for the new-again 1990s ‘whimsigothic’ trend. Channel Buffy by styling them with a pair of leather pants, or summon visions of Sabrina in a sassy velvet minidress.
  • These pearl drop earrings have an almost architectural vibe. Worn with a color block dress and a pair of bold glasses, they’ll fit right in with even the artsiest crowd.

Baroque Beauty

When you picture pearls, you probably think of smooth, round, matched sets of gems. Most classic pearl looks feature only the most flawless specimens, but pearls can come in plenty of other shapes too.

Baroque pearls are irregularly shaped and sized, lending them a more natural and unique look. They can also be less expensive than round pearls of comparable size, though they’ve grown in popularity in recent years, which has increased demand and value. 

Baroque pearls can be combined with alternative jewelry materials like leather and macrame for a distinctly beachy look. They can also dress up with the best of them when set in gold, silver or platinum. 

Baroque pearls are a fantastic choice for people who like to include the unexpected in their wardrobe.

A Rainbow of Options

Pearls are made out of nacre, a substance created by a natural process inside the body of a mollusk. (This is why you’re used to seeing a pearlescent finish inside of some shells.) Nacre comes in just about as many colors as you can think of. 

Three of the four main types of pearl are known for being colorful. Akoya saltwater pearls from Japan and China are the fourth type, iconic for smooth white and cream shades. Here’s a short rundown on each of their colorful counterparts:

  • South Sea Pearls Cultured within Pinctada Maxima oysters, South Sea pearls are varied shades of white, silver and gold.
  • Tahitian Pearls You may have heard Tahitian pearls, often referred to as black pearls. They can be true black, but they also come in a wide range of browns, silvers and purples, with eye-catching overtones in blues, greens, pinks and more. They’re cultured within Pinctada Margaritifera oysters.
  • Freshwater Pearls In addition to being the most abundant and affordable pearls on the market, freshwater pearls come in practically any color you could dream up. This is because freshwater pearls are created in many different varieties of mussel, which have different hues of nacre.

Other mollusks (like abalones) can create pearls, but they typically aren’t cultured, so they’re more difficult to track down. Even so, the wide variety of pearls on the market today can complement any preferred color palette or skin tone. The only roadblock is choosing which one you like best!

Diamond Nexus: Pearls for Your Personal Style

Pearl symbolism of elegance, wisdom, and wealth mixed with modern fashion makes it easy to wear pearl jewelry to your liking. You’ve just learned a whole slew of tips and tricks to help you incorporate pearl accessories into your wardrobe. From Jackie O’s classic glamour to Carrie Bradshaw’s fierce and fearless fashion, pearls can be found around the necks of icons everywhere.

Accentuate your own iconic energy with the perfect pearl accessory. Diamond Nexus carries all kinds of affordable, eco-friendly pearl styles. We also offer lab created diamond simulants and Nexus color stones in a dizzying array of different settings. You can even create a one-of-a-kind custom piece with the help of our team of expert jewelers.

Head to our online store to treat yourself (or someone you love) to a bit of treasure today. Make an impression without breaking the bank—find your perfect pearl at Diamond Nexus.

Sources: 
Verily Mag. Your Guide to Pearls. https://verilymag.com/2019/12/jewelry-ideas-for-everyday-formal-all-occasion-wear
Daily Mail. From Classic to Cool.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-10070017/Stylist-reveals-pearls-suddenly-hottest-celeb-look.html
Love and Lavender. Baroque Pearls Guide. https://www.loveandlavender.com/baroque-pearls-guide/
Gemological Institute of America. Pearl Description. https://www.gia.edu/pearl-description

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