Editor’s Letter, Pearls 2018: Ocean’s Heaven

Ready for a pearls trip?

JCK editor in chief Victoria GomelskyWelcome to JCK’s first annual pearl supplement, celebrating a gem like no other.

That’s because for all their enduring appeal, pearls are the anomalies of the jewelry world. Unlike most gemstones, which are mined from the earth, pearls are derived from living creatures known as mollusks. They owe their signature iridescence not to a mineral but to an organic material called nacre; the mollusk secretes it to protect itself from irritants that find their way into the fleshy part of its shell. Most unusual of all, pearls emerge from those shells as finished products, requiring no cutting or polishing to enhance their lustrous good looks.

No wonder we’re wild for pearls and always have been. The world’s most cutting-edge designers, who’ve embraced the pearl in recent years, would no doubt agree. Time and again, they continue to use the cultured baubles in inventive styles that make the classic gem feel simultaneously fresh and new.

To find out what’s new in the pearl market, consult “­Cultured Club,” contributor Martha C. White’s primer on supplies, prices, and other key details about the pearls on ­everyone’s most-wanted lists.

Then apply that knowledge as you read up on the latest pearl jewelry trends in “Pearls! Pearls! Pearls!” by JCK’s All That Glitters blogger Amy Elliott, who recaps the season’s most relevant pearl styles, a mix of pieces both familiar (hoop earrings, baroque shapes) and unusual (ombré!). The key takeaway from our first section devoted entirely to pearls? The queen of gems continues her reign.

Top: Natural white South Sea pearl ring in platinum with diamonds, $68,000, Jye’s International, 866-633-8880, jyescorp.com; Indorussian opal and pearl earrings in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver, $3,200, Sanjay Kasliwal of the Gem Palace, 212-988-1511, sanjaykasliwal.com

Photography by Kenneth Willardt

Styling: Solange Franklin/The Wall Group

Hair: DJ Quintero/Statement Artists

Makeup: Justine Purdue/Streeters using Nars Cosmetics

Manicurist: Rachel Shim/Dermelect/Artists by Timothy Priano

Retouching: Color by ClinicStudio.com

Model: Amanda Wellsh/IMG

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