Pearls: The Latest Trend? Color-Graduated Strands

Fade Out, Fade In

You’ve seen it in hair color, nail polish, leg wear, and sapphires. Now, ombré—that trendy, shaded color style—is seeping into pearl jewelry.

The nomenclature differs, depending on the vendor: Baggins calls its looks, part of its Moonlight collection, color-graduated; Mastoloni refers to its version as a fade. Yet the pieces all feature a similar aesthetic: a light-to-dark transition that makes for a stunning and uncommon sight.

“We noticed how much retailers and consumers really flocked to a necklace that was not your typical pearl creation,” explains partner Ray Mastoloni, whose New York City brand began experimenting with strands in different color and size combinations two years ago. “We immediately sold through our first lot of inventory.” (Ombré earring and bracelet options are on the horizon in 2014.)

Baggins graduated-color strands with Tahitian and white South Sea pearls and two 18k gold clasps with 3.34 cts. t.w. diamonds; $34,000 as shown Graduated-color strand with golden and white South Sea pearls and an 18k gold clasp with 0.65 ct. t.w. diamonds; $24,750; Baggins, Los Angeles; 213-624-2277;

Meanwhile, Los Angeles–based Baggins has been making color-graduated strands for upwards of 10 years, seeing a spike in their popularity just in the past three. “It is really ideal for a pearl lover and collector,” says president Anil Maloo.

While Baggins mainly makes faded-style necklaces and bracelets, earrings and pendants also are available. “We buy large crops of pearls all the time, so we keep mixing and collecting,” says Maloo. “It could take one to three years to make a strand. You need a lot of inventory to graduate the color nicely.”

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