The pearl necklace is the equivalent of the wardrobe’s “little black dress”, a jewellery box staple that can instantly transform a plain dress or outfit into something eye-catching, classy and chic.
For many years, the pearl necklace has endured the reputation of being somewhat “frumpy” – the twinset and pearls image of an ageing spinster has been difficult to shake off and consequently, put younger women off wearing pearls for many years.
However, pearls are back with a vengeance – because things have changed! Real pearls are no longer the monopoly of the wealthy, and imitations have so much improved in quality and choice, that in terms of beauty and lustre, they can certainly give the real thing a run for its money.
Whilst a single or double strand of round white cultured pearls will always make you look like a princess, you can have a lot of fun experimenting with different types of pearls, different lengths, multiple strands, beautiful colours, and necklaces featuring combinations of pearls with gemstones, glass or other types of stunning feature beads.
The reason why cultured pearls have become so affordable is due to the Chinese who now have a huge freshwater pearl farming industry established around the coast of China. Freshwater pearls appear in many shapes described by what the shape resembles such as “potato pearls”, “rice pearls” or “button pearls”. There are many pearls to a shell, varying in size and colour. Freshwater pearls are often dyed – common colours being “peacock” and “peach”. They can vary in quality. The quality of a pearl is graded by its size, shape and lustre. Whilst a perfectly round large cultured pearl necklace would still be beyond most people’s pocket, freshwater pearls are very affordable and can be just as stunning in a fashion necklace.
Glass pearls such as those made by Swarovski (Austrian) or Preciosa (Czech) can allow the designer free rein to their creativity. Always perfectly round, they come in a variety of glorious colours so there will always be a jewellery item to coordinate with the latest fashion ensemble.
Check out my designs in both freshwater and artificial pearls on the Caravela Jewellery website.