A primer to summer's chicest jewelry trend

Pearls adorn the season’s must-have baubles.

Pearls adorn the season’s must-have baubles

Alongside seashell-embellished gems and colourful hoop earrings, pearls of all shapes and sizes are among the summer's essential jewelry trends. Jewelry that incorporates "real" pearls don't necessarily have to be very expensive — there are smaller styles that retail for under $100. Factors that can affect the price include the size and type of pearls, if precious metals are used, and where and how the jewelry is produced. 

There are three types of pearls: natural, cultured and imitation. Most pearls on the market belong to the latter two categories, with cultured pearls — made with human intervention but otherwise indistinguishable from 'natural' ones — costing more and priced according to their size and luster. Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea saltwater cultured pearls are considered more valuable than their freshwater counterparts, because they take more time to cultivate and grow, and are generally more rare. According to National Geographic, 95% of the cultured pearls produced annually today are freshwater, with the bulk of the production occurring on Chinese pearl farms.  

This season, it's not about pearl stud earrings, the classic pearl necklace, or anything that looks like it might've come from your grandmother's collection. Instead, look for oversized shapes, irregular, non-spherical baroque pearls, and tiny pearls used to accent sculptural, precious-metal pieces. Nothing should be too fussy or ornate to be worn with jeans, and yet, the best pieces will also be chic enough for special occasions and to be worn with eveningwear. 

Here are 9 stylish ways to wear the trend now. 

These delicate gold vermeil earrings by Toronto-based brand Mejuri are designed to be worn every day. 

Pearl Hoops, $77, Mejuri

Handmade to order in NYC, this charming necklace nestles a freshwater pearl in a sculptural, shell-like sterling silver backdrop. 

Pearl Bay Necklace, about $252, Gece Gece

This quirky, mixed-media bracelet by Montreal designer Anne-Marie Chagnon features an eclectic mix of materials: leather, pewter, 22K gold-plated pewter, freshwater baroque pearls, and PVC.

Anne Marie Chagnon Effie Bracelet, $75, Simons

A tiny freshwater pearl necklace can be worn solo, or part of a stacked set. 

Necklace, $65, Flora Ciccarelli

This set of four hoops can be styled in endless combinations; if you have enough piercings, wear them all on a single ear for an extra dramatic effect.

Gabriela Artigas & Company Gold Cosmos Hoop Earring Set, approx. $472, Gabriel Aartigas

Handmade in Vancouver, these earrings feature 14k gold-plated recycled bronze and irregularly-shaped freshwater pearls.

Wolf Circus Pearl Hoop Earrings, $98, New Classics

A part of Birks' accessibly-priced Bee Chic collection, this rhodium-plated silver bracelet highlights a pair of cultured freshwater baroque pearls.  

Bee Chic Small Freshwater Baroque Pearl And Silver Cuff Bracelet, $195, Birks

Made-to-order in Montreal using Keshi pearls, these earrings combine two of the season's hot trends: pearls and hoops. 

Lua Earrings, $168, Yuun 

Award-winning Montreal jewelry brand LLY Atelier's designs veer towards sculpture — and this pair is no exception. 

Pearl Inverted U Earrings, $158, LLY Atelier

Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.


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