“A poor man wants the oyster; a rich man wants the pearl” - Elvis Presley
What is it about a string of pearls against a black cashmere sweater that whispers “lovely”?
More than diamonds or rubies these semi-precious stones convey a certain sensuality in their unique shapes, fascinating colors and simple arrangements. And unlike diamonds or rubies a pearl necklace works well across most occasions. How many times have you seen a classic string worn with a cashmere sweater and blue jeans or with the little black dress or a wedding gown?
Who wears pearls?
Well The Queen of course (and I don’t mean Elton John). And Barbara Bush. Pearls have traditionally been the choice of sorority girls and debutantes, but their understated look makes them a current favorite of fashionistas and ivy leaguers both. Pearls cut across and through ages; college women wear them casually and mothers wear them to church. Jackie Kennedy wore them everywhere and so did Grace Kelly. Rhianna, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightly all show up wearing them in their red carpet finest.
Every time I see a woman wearing a beautifully stranded necklace I hear Glenn Miller. His band recorded the quintessential version of “String of Pearls” in 1941. Pearls have evolved from the classic cultured pearls of uniform size, shape and color to the more exotic, freshwater Baroque variety. Some of the most interesting specimens are featured in pieces from jewelers like Lionessa, (@ShopLionessa) who hand select and import pieces from the Philippines and Singapore. These naturally formed pearls make beautiful statement pieces while maintaining their classic understated appeal.
Pearls as jewelry and pieces of value date back to biblical times. References to pearls and their use and commercial appeal appear in Hindu, Islamic, Hebrew and New Testament scriptures. Have you ever heard the saying “pearls before swine”? It’s a biblical reference in Matthew 7:6. You need to read it and make your own inferences.
“Why she is a pearl, whose price hath launched a thousand ships, and turned crowned kings to merchants.” – Shakespeare
Diamonds get sold or stolen. Pearls get handed down to daughters. Diamonds are rocks but pearls are precious. Jewels are “hey look at me!” and pearls are “don’t pretend you didn’t notice me”. “Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend” as Teresa DeSequera Colley, Founder of Lionessa reminds us, “but pearls are what a woman takes to the bank”.
So next time you see a woman with a string of pearls and pearl earrings take a good look and make an assessment. Engage her in conversation if you dare. I am confident you will learn something from the encounter.