Industry / Pearls

Men’s Pearls Continue to Score as Fashion-Forward Fans Layer Up


Along with spring’s traditional jewelry fling with flowers, beaded necklaces, and arms full of cuffs and heavy bracelets, New York Fashion Week added a must-wear trend to jewelry: men sporting pearls as they strutted down the runway.

Thanks to celebrities like Harry Styles and major fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs, men wearing pearls has gone from a surprising moment to a long-term play with Kentaro Nishimura, COO of Mikimoto America, noting that pearls are “essential jewelry for everyday life for all genders and generations.”

At Jacobs’ New York Fashion Week show on Feb. 2, all the runway models wore classic Mikimoto Akoya pearl strands and studs as a balance to the designer’s 1990s punk-inspired Heroes collection.

Jacobs himself walked in Mikimoto while wearing a black sweater, black skirt, and black chunky boots. Jacobs has worn pearls for several years now, sharing in interviews how his pearls have become his good-luck charm, so he wears them daily.

Marc Jacobs Mikimoto
Fashion designer Marc Jacobs highlighted Mikimoto pearls throughout his New York Fashion Week show called Heroes and wears his strand of Mikimoto pearls as a good-luck charm. (Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs)

Considering that the Mikimoto history with the world’s first cultured pearl dates back to 1893, it’s an amazing journey from then to now, Nishimura says.

“The momentum at which pearls have grown in popularity is incredible—and is in large part due to their timelessness and elegance,” Nishimura told JCK in an email interview. “We’re celebrating our 130th anniversary this year, with new campaigns and product launches, and are looking forward to share the beauty and history of Mikimoto and its high-quality pearls with the world.”

It’s about time men stepped up to wearing this classic within the jewelry world, says Leon Rbibo, president of the Pearl Source and Laguna Pearl.

“Men, welcome to the current century,” Rbibo says. “Pearls for guys are going to continue to trend in 2023. We’ve seen everyone from Sam Smith to Pharrell, Harry Styles, and A$AP Rocky pull off the pearl look in 2022. Don’t expect that to stop.”

Rbibo says he expects jumbo pearls and long drop earrings to trend this year. Pearls can go large without breaking the bank, he notes, especially if you look at freshwater as an option. He also thinks pearl studs—his own brand’s and others, such as the Mikimoto ones worn at the Jacobs show—are perfect for men with everything from dressy wear for upscale events to “ripped denim for brunch the next day.”

Freshwater studs
Men can wear pearl studs ($99), such as these from the Pearl Source, for daytime or evening events, says the Pearl Source president Leon Rbibo. (Photo courtesy of the Pearl Source)

“The bigger the better. The chunkier the better. The more layers, the better. You get the idea,” Rbibo says. “Customers are looking for statement pieces that give that wow factor, and they get it with both of these categories [necklaces and earrings].”

Athletes are hopping on the bandwagon too. Alex Cannon, co-founder of men’s jewelry brand Craftd London, says his company got a big PR push when soccer star Raheem Sterling wore its pearl necklace with his club’s uniform.

“I love seeing athletes showing glimpses of their fashion style on the pitch. Raheem is leading the way with his fashion choices, as per usual,” Cannon says. “We’re proud to have Raheem wearing Craftd. He’s a world-class player and an inspiration to many. Every man wants to feel confident and our pieces are designed to help them achieve that feeling.”

Top: Men who want to try pearls can wear a simple single pearl, like this Golden Baroque pearl necklace on a leather band ($139), says the Pearl Source’s president Leon Rbibo. (Photo courtesy of the Pearl Source)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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