Pearls are a classic choice in jewelry. Royalty wore strands of pearl jewelry as far back as the middle ages and once cultured pearls became affordable, almost every woman had a prized strand and wore them frequently. Pearls became a mainstay accessory for women all over the world and are still popular today in several different forms.
Pearls come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Natural pearls are most expensive because they are scarce. Cultured pearls are more accessible because oysters or mollusks are artificially inserted with organic material on which to grow the pearl, which is harvested several years later. Natural and cultured pearls come in a variety of colors including white, cream and black with pink, lavender, green, silver or gold overtones. Freshwater pearls are another option and have unusual raisin-like shapes that radiate a kaleidoscope of subtle, shimmering color.
Round and semi round pearls are best for strand necklaces. Button pearls have one round side and flat side that is backed by metal of a pendant, cuff link, ring or earring to make it appear round. Teardrop pearls, also called drop or pear shape make beautiful pendants or drop earrings. Baroque pearls have interesting and irregular shapes. They are included into pendants or their unique shapes are extenuated in strands. Circled pearls have ridges that form around the body and are commonly used as pendants, earrings or cufflinks. White and cream pearls both go well with gold and white pearls with silver or pink overtones work well with silver or platinum as do black pearls.
Strands are the most popular and classic type of pearl jewelry. A strand never goes out of style. The type Audrey Hepburn was wearing years ago is still popular today. Both multi-strand and single strand are popular types of necklaces. Collar strands are 10 to 13 inches in length and falls around the throat. Choker necklaces are 14 to 16 inches long and sit at the base of the neck. Princess strands measure 17 to 19 inches and come to the collarbone. Strands measuring 20 to 24 inches or just above the breast are matinee length and opera length goes to the breast bone at 28 to 35 inches long. Rope necklaces measure 45 inches or more. Longer strands are easily twisted and wrapped around the neck to give the illusion of multi-strands or around the wrist to make a bracelet. Uniform pearls are to all one size while graduated has larger pearls at the front and smaller ones to the back.
Other Pearl Jewelry
A single pearl on a chain is a classic necklace style suitable for young and old. Earrings come in studs and drop style. One pearl or a cluster makes for a lovely cocktail ring and a bracelet of delicate fresh water pearls interspersed with diamonds makes a beautiful accessory for special occasions. Pearl jewelry lasts forever if kept safe inside a felt bag and out of sunlight and heat and maintains its stylish nature for years to come.