The simple pearl is enjoying a bit of a fashion renaissance at the moment and jewellers are reporting an increase in demand. So what is behind the pearl revival?
Pearls have always seemed classy. They are simple, elegant and timeless and most definitely back in vogue. Designers are capitalising on this new popularity and making the most of the revival by launching new collections and modern designs to meet the requirements of new pearl fans.
‘Vintage’ fashion has been back in trend for some months now, continuing to grow off the back of films such as The Great Gatsby, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Once saved only for special occasions, pearls are now flexible enough to be worn every day, and they are no longer the preserve of queens and other royalty.
The elegance and simplicity of pearl jewellery makes it a favourite with traditional brides, but the new settings and designs mean that there is a style somewhere to suit every woman, every day. Due to overfishing in the 18th century, pearls once came at a high price, so tended to be worn only by royalty or the very wealthy.
But freshwater pearls are a great choice for a beautiful, affordable option. Wear your pearls with pride and don’t leave them stuck in a box! Choose a design that can dress an outfit up or down, and you will never be stuck for accessories again.
Consumer demand is driving retail focus towards pearls as a contemporary contender amongst other gemstones and so they are becoming more prominent in jewellers’ cabinets. Organic gems, such as amber or jet pearls are leading a huge revival that is leaving other stones in the shade.
Freshwater pearls have come in various shapes in the past but fewer now have a comet-shaped ‘tail’ – fireballs – which were previously seen as indicative of a lesser standard, and today, more are close to a perfect round shape – Edison pearls. Many have a beautiful metallic lustre that suits all skin tones.
There is no standard grading system internationally for pearls, unlike other gems, although jewellers generally agree that factors defining quality are size, lustre, shape and so on.
Pearls have a low resistance to chemicals, so try to keep them away from perfume and make up as much as possible. Heat can also easily affect the surface of the pearl too. Pearls should be cleaned with a soft cloth, damp if necessary, and you should use a soft bag or pouch to store them.
Retailers will continue to feed the demand for pearls, which will put more pressure on designers to come with more and more contemporary and wearable styles, and without the hefty price tag of other gems, so the obsession with pearls looks set to continue for some time.
Industry experts are calling for better education for jewellers by including more about pearls and their suppliers in all gemmology courses. This would benefit jewellery businesses as well as that of producers, and ultimately would lead to a better service to the end consumer.