All Mixed Up!

Now that designers have abandoned the misconception that pearls are stodgy, they’re not only embracing the molluscous beauties in their full range of colors but also mixing things up for a new take on pearl jewelry. Thanks to fashion leaders like Robert Lee Morris, the modern menu of pearl jewelry offers up a fresh selection of pearls combined with nontraditional materials. Meanwhile, an increasing number of designs feature different varieties of pearls grouped together in peaceful—and beautiful—coexistence. Finally, even high-end designers like Henry Dunay are celebrating the individuality of a statement-making baroque pearl.

This trend toward experimentation with nontraditional pearls and pearl combinations reflects fashion’s endorsement of avant-garde pairings—like denim and fur—and jewelry consumers’ new taste for merchandise that’s unusual, unique, and decidedly not ubiquitous.