In the jewelry industry recently, few topics have been discussed more than men wearing pearls. The latest example is Leslie Odom Jr., whose decision to wear pearls at the Glass Onion movie premiere drew positive comments including “Dayum!” from fellow actor Dave Bautista.
It’s gone beyond a single celebrity or red-carpet moment, says Los Angeles–based jeweler LAguna Pearl. The brand recently announced its latest launch: A gender-inclusive pearl jewelry line, the aim of which is to fulfill the demand for custom pearl jewelry for everyone—especially men.
While the line can be worn by anyone, LAguna Pearl president Samuel Rbibo says the brand is purposefully designing and marketing this line to men. Its two collections, Fame and Fortune, are meant to open up people’s minds in terms of what pearls are and what they can look like when worn as a style statement.
“Put simply, this gender-neutral approach to the current trend in the pearl industry is only going to rise higher,” Rbibo says. “I would expect that this will continue well into 2023 as more celebrities and A-listers gravitate toward new eclectic and trendy looks.”
LAguna’s sister brand, the Pearl Source, has been importing high-end pearls from French Polynesia and Asia for more than two decades. It has historically remained traditional in its designs and product lines. But custom requests from L.A.’s entertainment scene gave rise to LAguna Pearl, a brand that Rbibo says favors bold, edgy designs using pearls in ways they are not traditionally utilized.
“Our brand was created from the rising trend and overall need among younger millennials for edgy, gender-neutral jewelry for all,” Rbibo says. “Our core business line was historically based on traditional pearl designs. But with the change in trend, this new product collection was meant to address a modern audience. And, yes, owners and employees alike wear the new collection.”
The styles have become popularized by artists such as A$AP Rocky, Harry Styles, Drake, Pharrell Williams, and Jason Momoa. LAguna’s most recent private design was a $250,000 piece for an attendee of the 2022 Grammy Awards.
“Traditionally, pearls have been geared more toward the feminine market, but with the shift in more gender-neutral fashion and accessory trends, we have noticed a rising movement and natural gravitation for pearls even among male demographics,” Rbibo says. “Certainly, education would help, but the pieces being worn by some of the most followed celebrities and artists currently should speak for itself.”
LAguna’s new line includes some expected elements: Bigger gemstones, chunkier chains, and alternative metals and materials to accommodate larger necks and wrists. But it also features smaller pearl pieces that can be layered, stacked, and draped to create visually striking looks. Colors and tones also deviate from the more classic whites and creams to include Tahitian black pearls and blue and green peacock hues.
“All of our creative branding and marketing has been geared to illustrate the fact that pearls are for all and need to break out of their shell, no pun intended,” Rbibo says. “Since the collections are aimed at younger millennials, we are prominently placing ads and marketing efforts on TikTok, Instagram, and multiple other channels.”
Top: LAguna’s new gender-neutral pearl line can be worn by anyone, the brand says, but it is marketing its two collections specifically to men in hopes the trend of celebrities and everyday male consumers wearing pearls continues to grow (photos courtesy of LAguna).
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