A perfect string of pearls often recalls images of style legends, such as Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.
Now pearls are appealing to a younger generation and gaining popularity in part because designers are imagining new ways of wearing them.
“There’s an emergence of younger designers breaking the traditional boundaries of classic styles with pearls,” says Hisano Shepherd, a Los Angeles–based jewelry designer for a company called little h.
“From the early 1900s through the 1950s, the most coveted pearls were perfectly round, white pearls worn as choker-length necklaces or stud earrings,” says jeweler and designer April Higashi, owner of Shibumi Gallery in Berkeley, Calif. And these traditional- style pearls were staples the world over. “In Japan, women were gifted with pearl studs and pearl strand necklaces for coming-of-age and wedding gifts,” Shepherd says. But that’s changing.