When it comes to jewelry designs that draw my eye—and my checkbook—I tend to have a penchant for bold '20s designs that evoke the Art Deco era. My prized possession is a Florida flea market find: a gold open-link double-chain necklace that ends in a metal tassel—a piece I wear at least twice a week and that has followed me through days at the office and nights out dancing. (So enamored am I of this bauble that I recently added a silver version to my jewelry box, a fortuitous find at an upstate antique store.)

When it comes to the rest of the items in my jewelry box, however, I find that it's brimming with pearls, and strange as it may sound, I'm constantly surprised by that. What catches me off-guard is that the pearls are all gifts from family and friends, nothing I've ever bought myself: studs aplenty, a three-strand seed pearl bracelet, a delicate pair of chandeliers, single-strand baroque pearl necklaces, a requisite perfectly round one.

In the October issue of National Jeweler, we highlighted a whole spectrum of pearl designs, ranging from classic strands to fashion-forward rings and necklaces mixing the organic gems with heavy chains and colored stones. While manufacturers enthused about the youth-enticing designs, what surprised me was our monthly Regional Report feature, where retailers overwhelmingly stated that pearl sales were slow.

So are pearls actually passé? I can't speak for the retail side, but as a fashion-obsessed mid 20s-something, I certainly do wear them. And I know I'm not the only one. Check out this recent runway shot from Unrath & Strano's Paris fashion show. The silk and lace evening gown is covered in hundreds of freshwater cultured pearls, all from Schoeffel. While I can't say I or anyone I know will be wearing this confection anytime soon, such creations keep the gems in fashion's eye. A good friend, who, at 22, makes the fashion blogs a religious part of her daily routine, recently returned to the city after a trip to her hometown of Virginia Beach. She had raided her mother's jewelry box (with permission, of course) and raved about the pearl items more so than any of her other semi-new baubles.

So while pearls aren't the jewelry items I crave, they're a constant standby, a versatile part of my wardrobe and the pieces I know I'll be passing on one day. That counts for something, right? And all of those pearls means someone was doing the charging at the counter.

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National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.