Although it’s been gradual, the transformation of the pearl over the past two decades, from a ladylike accessory favored by brides and grandmothers into, arguably, the gem world’s most promising and provocative player, is the jewelry story of the 2020s.
Not that long ago, the words pearl and trend had no business being in a sentence together. The seaborne gems were sold as strands or delicate drop earrings, perfect for tradition-loving women, but rarely, if ever, were they used in fashion-forward settings that subverted their long-standing reputation as hyperfeminine.
Now those very same gems are playing a starring role in some of the most provocative, gender-bending collections the industry has ever seen. Mikimoto’s daring collaboration with Commes des Garçons in January 2020, on a range of pearl necklaces expressly designed for men, signaled a major shift in the gem’s image.
Contemporary designers have taken that conversation and run with it. Last month, for example, the U.K.-based jewelry brand Missoma debuted its second gender-inclusive collection and first foray into pearls. The fashionable pieces, which are crafted in gold-plated metal and freshwater pearls, are shown on both men and women, further cementing the idea of pearls as genderless.
The pairing of pearls with yellow gold only enhances their on-trend appeal. Check out the nine pieces highlighted below (and at top) for proof of that winning combination.
Top: Radiating hoop earrings in 18k gold with cultured freshwater pearls, $3,295; IppolitaFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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