Pearl’s are pretty, but how do I wear them?

Pearls, unfortunately, have a reputation for being stodgy and old-fashioned. When I think of pearls, I automatically reflect back to my grandmother’s fashion sense. Not a day went by that she did not have her pearls on. With her hair in place, her lacey apron on and lipstick painstakingly applied, she was ready to tackle each day. As a child, I admired the precious gems that adorned her neck. Little did I realize that someday I would own those pearls. So, what does one do with such a treasure whether inherited or purchased? The most important advice I can give to you does not put the pearls away! They are beautiful and are meant to be worn daily. A personal client of mine, bought his wife an amazing set of Tahitian pearls for their Anniversary and she looked absolutely marvelous in them.

Pearls 101

Know your pearls as they come in different colors and sizes. Some are more valuable than others.

Natural Pearls

These are the most coveted of all pearls, and over the centuries the supply dwindled.

Cultured Pearls

Man devised a way to intervene with Mother Nature and began to farm oysters. This help to produce a more brilliant and perfected pearl. Although cultivated pearls are not quite as valuable as a natural pearl, they can be expensive. Farms producing cultured pearls are either located in saltwater or freshwater environments. Freshwater pearls are produced by mussels, not oysters and are usually farmed in ponds, lakes or tanks.

Imitation Pearls

Affordable to all, imitation pearls can be just as attractive as the real deal, however hold very little to no value.


Choosing Your Pearls

As with any other fashion accessory, personal choice is the basis in purchasing your pearls.

Helpful Hints in your choice of pearls

  • Educate yourself on the different types, colors, and shapes of pearls. In doing so, you can make an informed decision on your choice of pearl.
  • If you are purchasing pearls as an investment piece, ensure that you are buying from a retailer that specializes in pearls.
  • Decide on size and shape of pearls.
  • When choosing a color of pearls, think about how you will incorporate this color into your wardrobe.
  • Carefully examine the pearls for luster and surface condition. Are they brilliant with shimmer? Do they have pits or blemishes?
  • If purchasing a necklace or bracelet, examine the consistency of the shape and color of pearls in the strand. A strand of quality pearls should have a cohesive overall look.
  • There is a fail-safe way to check to see if the pearl is fake or genuine. Using the “Tooth Test,” you can rub the pearl against your tooth. If the pearl is real, it will feel gritty, not smooth.

What style of pearl necklace is best?


  • This is the most common choice of pearl necklace
  • Formal as well as Casual attire
  • Measures: 17-19”
  • Type of Neckline: high and low

Collar (3+-stranded)

  • Typically, 3 or more stands are worn while drawing attention to the throat area
  • Formal or Business attire
  • Measures: 12-13”
  • Type of Neckline: low, dipping, boat neck, V-neck, off-the-shoulder


  • Not typically worn by mature women
  • Formal and Casual attire
  • Measures: 14-16”
  • Type of Neckline: adaptable to any neckline apart from turtleneck


  • A single strand or multi-strands worn with varying wardrobe styles. This is a perfect statement piece to go with pantsuits.
  • Formal, Casual and Business attire
  • Measures: 37-180”
  • Type of Neckline: adaptable to any neckline


  • Typically worn as a single strand or doubled with 2-strand style to form a choker
  • Formal attire
  • Measures: 26-36”
  • Type of neckline: adaptable to any neckline

Pearl Fashion Etiquette

While there is nothing “official” that dictates when and where you wear pearls, there are some things to take into consideration.

At the Office

Simple yet elegant is the ideal style. Select your pearl style to be more understated than something that is massively overstated. As the old saying goes, “less is more.”

Casual Everyday Elegant

Again, a simple style choice of pearls to go with your jeans is a perfect pairing.

Formal Events

Pearls come alive at formal events and adorn those in evening gowns. Creative ways to wear all styles of pearls can be evident with simple pearls all the way to ornate pearls. You can never go wrong with the timeless elegance of pearls!


Color pairing with Pearls

Pearls look best with darker apparel. This not only gives the pearls more brilliance but gives you a fresher look. Avoid wearing pearls with pale colors or flesh tone colors. It reflects a matronly look while giving the pearls a washed out appearance. Neon colors and pearls do not go together well either.

Creative Ways to Wear Pearls

  • Accentuating your hair with pearls on bobby pins, hair clips and headbands gives your hair a romantic vibe.
  • Grab a clutch with decorative pearls for your daily errands. This gives you a fun and fresh look.
  • Bedazzle a pair of boring jeans with pearls.
  • If going to a formal event, give your makeup a pop. Using cosmetic adhesive, glue a small seed pearl to each outer corner of your eyelid.


Remember…if you inherit your grandma’s pearls, don’t put them away, but give them life and wear them daily. Your grandma would love you for that!