Hands up those of you that think pearls are a wee bit old-fashioned and something only your grandmother should wear? I know there are a fair few of you out there, so I’ve taken it upon myself to try and bring a bit of love back for the glorious pearl.
Personally, I’m a big fan of pearl jewellery. It’s so versatile and depending on how you style it, it really can look entirely different from one person to the next. Go traditional with a simple set of pearl studs and a single strand, a la Style du Sloane. Or mix it up with other stones, beads and materials for multi-textured funkiness. Personally, my favourite way to wear pearls is layered up. And up and up and up! Really, the more the better. If I don’t have a severe neck ache by the end of the night, I clearly wasn’t wearing enough.
Pile ‘em high people!
Worn this way, they can take a casual look and make it something special (think jeans, ballet pumps, a funky print t-shirt and a shed load of pearls = Soho super-stylin’). Equally, a plain LBD and strappy heels becomes a bit edgy with layers of pearls, whereas a single strand tends to look a bit flat.
Anyway, there is an endless selection of pearl jewellery available, but it can be a bit confusing, especially as prices vary so hugely. So, here’s the science bit.
Natural pearls are formed, not only from oysters, but other bi-valve (2 shells, like a mussel) molluscs as well. If a foreign substance, like a grain of sand, gets inside the shell of the creature, it can irritate the mantle, which is the layer that produces the lining to the shell (what we know as mother-of-pearl). This substance is called nacre and to protect itself from the grain of sand, the animal produces layer upon layer of nacre to surround the foreign object. These layers eventually form a pearl. Obviously, this is quite a rare occurrence, and there is no way of knowing by looking from the outside if an oyster contains a pearl. Because of this rarity, natural pearls, particularly smooth, round pearls, are very valuable.Cultured or farmed pearls, are formed in exactly the same way, but with a little bit of human intervention. Rather than the process starting naturally, the harvester opens the shell and places the irritant in manually.
Cultured pearls are the same quality as natural pearls, only less rare, so less expensive. They shouldn’t be confused with faux pearls, which are not formed by this process but are man-made using a number of different materials like shell dust or glass. Most of the fun, fashion jewellery you can buy in high street shops will be made of these cheaper faux pearls. They can look great, but won’t have the same lustre as a real pearl.
Hopefully you’ve learned something useful, but let’s get to the best bit, oogling lots of pretty jewellery. Here’s a few of my favourite pieces of pearl jewellery available today. If you see anything you like, just click through to buy.
Half price at only £90 – what’s not to love?
£24 for an amazing statement necklace. Wear this forever.
Everyone needs a pair of chandelier earrings – love these!
80% off this on Net-a-Porter. Kenneth Jay Lane fabulousness for only £93!
Pearl and Lapis Lazuli – a match made in jewellery heaven.
So go on, treat yourself to something pretty and I promise you, you’ll be a pearly queen convert forever.
Big hugs and smooches.
Please note, all products reviewed here are done so totally independently, the author has not been incentivised in any way. All images are used without the permission of the owner who holds any and all the rights to them. If you own these images and wish me to remove any of them, please use the Contact Us form on the site.