Pearls may never go out of style, but they’ve possibly become more stylish over the last few years as consumers have been responding positively to innovative and udpated pearl designs.
I saw several such examples at this year’s Centurion Jewelry show in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Designer Mizuki Goltz of namesake brand Mizuki had an ultra-busy booth at the show. Goltz has been designing for around 20 years, but she really hit her stride about five years ago when she began to focus on pearls. She was one of the first to usher in pearls’ most recent bout of popularity in which the gemstone is given the fashion treatment.
Buyers have responded, customers have responded and Goltz’s Centurion booth was so busy that I had to circle several times before finding a lull to pop in and see what’s new. Primarily, Goltz has been expanding “Fluid,” her selection of pearls dipped in gold.
Goltz’s favorite color of pearl is pistachio, and I’m completely coveting her pistachio pendant from the “Fluid” line (pictured above, top).
Yoko London’s booth was an absolute treasure trove of one-of-a-kind pearl works of art. The pearl design house has everything from trendy pearl ear jackets to major high jewelry-esque necklaces.
They have especially beautiful pink pearls, which I didn’t see being highlighted anywhere else at Centurion. Their baroque pearl cocktail rings, pictured above, hit just the right note between trendy and timeless.
Mastoloni’s team told me that long, multi-colored pearl strands are doing very well at the moment. People are responding to gradiated, ombre necklaces combining black, gray, silver and white pearls. A woman who has a classic strand of white or black Tahitian pearls and loves the look of them now wants a piece of pearl jewelry that is just as classic, but different from what she owns.
Mastoloni has exactly what she needs: a huge array of high-quality strands of pearls in various color combinations, which can be doubled up or worn long.
Todd Reed introduced his concept of gold-wrapped or -cupped gemstones at last year’s Couture show.
At Centurion he debuted a new piece, the above pearl bib necklace, which utilizes the same concept. Here, pearls in various colors are set in a “cup” of gold, which is adorned with tiny pave gemstones. Reed’s team told me the process is extremely difficult and time consuming as it’s done all by hand.
This pearl bib necklace represents a new direction for Reed. He has more demure versions of the same concept, specifically a long necklace featuring two of the gold-capped pearls, which is perfect for daily wear.
Royal Pearl is another brand that is doing well with its unique strands of pearls.
Styles featuring Keshi pearls are particularly resonating with consumers as the gemstone is inherently unique. The Royal Pearl team told me that they don’t design with trend in mine as their pearls are viewed as a lifetime purchase.
Earrings like the above are timeless, but also satisfy the current demand for fashion-oriented fine jewelry.
Designer Penny Preville works with a large variety of gemstones and truly has something for every gem fan. I spotted these cool pearl hoop earrings at her booth, which I think make the perfect update to a classic set of pearl earrings.
They capitalize on the huggie hoop trend but take it up a notch with these beautifully diamond-adorned, white, dangling pearls. These would look just as beautiful on a 90 year old as a 19 year old.
I can’t talk about what’s happening in pearls without mentioning Mikimoto.
At Centurion, the brand was showing a line of romantic pearls styles embellished with white diamonds configured in natural motifs. Of course, they also have plenty of luscious strands of stunning, top-quality pearls. As with the other pearl houses, ombre and various pearl color combinations are popular with golden pearls being the priciest, as several exhibitors confirmed.
Eclat Jewels creates incredible one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry and occasionally resells estate pieces with which they’re particularly enamored. I spotted the above bracelet at their booth at the show, notable for its ornate ruby clasp.
Lastly, after seeing so many delectable pearls at Centurion, they were firmly on my mind, and I was delighted to see that Marla Aaron, maker of fine jewelry locks that are perfect for creative styling, had used one of her locks as a clasp on a strand of her own pearls.
Aaron was one of three designers chosen to exhibit at Centurion as an emerging brand. It’s Aaron’s first trade-show experience and her booth wasn’t to be missed. Perhaps the designer will venture into pearls for her own designs in the future; I can only imagine how adorable one of her locks would be if set with tiny seed pearls (if such a thing is possible). For now, I'm holding onto this image of Aaron, which perfectly marries rock-n-roll with a lady-like look.