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The Adorned Pearl
Fashion Forward


THE TREND: Here’s an instance when you can improve upon a classic. With pearls in demand even in tough economic times, some designers and pearl jewelry manufacturers are taking the pearl a step further—adorning the surface much like jewelers traditionally decorate precious metals and gemstones. The pearl still is the focus of the look, but tiny bezel set diamonds, gold studs, and charm-like additions decorate its lustrous canvas.

WHY IT’S HAPPENING: Pearls personify the classic American style that permeates fashion runways and red carpets these days, so it’s only natural that designers are finding more ways to capitalize on the classic pearl. Technological advances have made it easier and more affordable to securely adhere additions to pearls. Using pearls as a gem or diamond setting material makes sense economically too since, gram for gram, pearls actually are less expensive than many precious metals.

WHO IS DOING IT: Everyone from traditional pearl suppliers to avant-garde designers are experimenting with carving, etching, and other techniques previously reserved only for gemstones or metals. Decorated pearl looks include unusual caps, cages, or “captured” pearls which seem to flower effortlessly from nacre to diamonds, gold, and other precious materials. Even some watch brands have experimented with pearls as markers on diamonds.

WHO HAS THEM: Alishan, Assael, Autore, Denny Wong, Ellagem, Erica Courtney, Erica Molinari, Galatea Jewelry, Jane Gordon, Mahlia, Marina J., Mastoloni, Misha, Pedro Boregaard, Sazingg, Shaill, Stuller, Tara & Sons, Vibe, Yvel, and Zeira.

HOW TO SELL IT: Adorned pearls provide sales associates with new talking points beyond the classic strand standbys. Here’s your chance to show a customer something completely new. Try pulling one of these styles out at least once a day to show a customer something they have never seen before. Pearl strands may be part of a basic wardrobe, but these decorated pearls add a unique artistic flair to the basic pearl business. The more creative the decoration, the more likely a retailer can interest a fashion oriented consumer who may feel classic strands are old fashioned. Besides setting fine pearls apart from their low-end imitations, these adorned pearls give an entrée into explaining the characteristics of the sea’s most precious gem.





18k yellow and white gold Swan South Sea pearl brooch with diamond, ruby, and sapphire

Assael International’s 18k yellow and white gold Swan South Sea pearl brooch with diamond, ruby, and sapphire details and a citrine spray, suggested retail $25,000, (212) 819-0060.

22k granulated gold acorn pendant with South Sea pearl and diamonds

Zeira’s 22k granulated gold acorn pendant with South Sea pearl and diamonds, suggested retail $7,480, on a 22k gold 16-inch handmade chain, suggested retail $3,630, (212) 395-9707.

Tahitian pearl earrings with inset diamonds on platinum huggie earrings, pearl earrings with diamonds, black Chinese freshwater pearl earrings, diamond quatrefoil details, and pink tourmalines, keshi pearl pendant with 18k gold Gothic cross appliqué

Clockwise from top center: Erica Courtney’s double drop Tahitian pearl earrings with inset diamonds on platinum huggie earrings, suggested retail $6,960, (323) 938-2373.
Erica Molinari’s Tahitian pearl earrings with diamonds, (212) 226-8878.
Shaill’s black Chinese freshwater pearl earrings, diamond quatrefoil details, and pink tourmalines, suggested retail $1,395, (212) 995-9107.
Erica Courtney’s keshi pearl pendant with 18k gold Gothic cross appliqué, suggested retail $5,040, (323) 938-2373.

mermaid 14k yellow gold pendant with 11mm hand carved barium turquoise pearl

Galatea Jewelry’s mermaid 14k yellow gold pendant with 11mm hand carved barium turquoise “Mercy” pearl, suggested retail $1,450; and “Sweet Nectar” 14k gold and mother-of-pearl pendant with 14mm hand carved barium turquoise “Mercy” pearl, suggested retail $1,875, (909) 592-0877.

Japanese akoya pearl lariat, 18k green gold and diamond pansy enhancer, 18k green gold chain lariat with two 18k green gold capped pearls

Jane Gordon’s Japanese akoya pearl lariat, suggested retail $2,200, with 18k green gold and diamond pansy enhancer, suggested retail $1,950; and 18k green gold chain lariat with two 18k green gold capped pearls, suggested retail $1,950, (212) 688-8600.

Tahitian pearl pendant with diamond pavé inlay, sterling silver and cultured Chinese black pearl necklace

Mastoloni’s 17.4mm Tahitian pearl pendant with diamond pavé inlay, (212) 757-7278.
Marina J.’s “Infinity” unisex sterling silver and cultured Chinese black pearl necklace, suggested retail $700, (323) 640-7340.

baroque South Sea pearl necklace with 18k yellow gold floral appliqués and diamonds, baroque South Sea pearl pendant with 18k yellow gold and diamond butterfly

Vibe at Fragments’ baroque South Sea pearl necklace with 18k yellow gold floral appliqués and diamonds, suggested retail $25,640; and baroque South Sea pearl pendant with 18k yellow gold and diamond butterfly, suggested retail $2,700, (212) 226-8878.

South Sea baroque pearl pendant with diamond accents

Erica Molinari at Fragments’ 10mm South Sea baroque pearl pendant with diamond accents, suggested retail $2,435, (212) 226-8878.