Not My Grandmother’s Pearls…

Modern pearl jewelry. Freshwater drop earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A Classic, Updated…

I’ve been finding myself drawn to pearl jewelry lately. There’s something about the way pearls worn near the face reflect a soft light back onto the skin. While we tend to think of pearls as classic and timeless, they can also be edgy and modern. Above: freshwater pearl drop earrings.

I like irregular pearls best, especially baroque and Keshi pearls.

Double-strand freshwater baroque pearl necklace with vintage French medallion. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Above, a double strand of freshwater Baroque pearls with a silver medallion from French Kande.

keshi pearl stud earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Pearl studs are a versatile earring choice. They add polish and don’t compete with most necklaces or other jewelry. If classic rounds aren’t your thing, here’s an updated take on a perennial favorite.


Kenneth Jay Lane freshwater pearl multi-strand necklace. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Freshwater pearls are worth considering if your budget is limited. The quality has improved dramatically in the last couple of decades, and they are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Look for pearls with good luster; they shouldn’t be flat or dull. Above: a classic style, the three-strand pearl necklace, with freshwater baroques.

Baroque pearls drop earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

There are some good quality manmade pearls available these days. I have these baroque drop earrings and always get compliments when I wear them. They have a wonderful luster.

To help preserve your pearls, keep away from anything abrasive, and try not to let them come in contact with perfume or other harsh substances such as vinegar, ammonia and alcohol.

Do you have a favorite piece of pearl jewelry?

Edited to add: Duchesse has posted some of her personal collection of pearls today, and it’s absolutely glorious!

Modern Pearl Jewelry…

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  1. I continue to wear my classic pearl studs that were my mainstay as a corporate lawyer. They work well with casual clothes and oversized eyeglass frames. My pearl choker, which dates back to 1950, was more of a challenge but it works when I wear it with multiple other pearl necklaces of a tying lengths and colors. More is more when it comes to pearls looking modern.

  2. Loved this blog. Pearls are my jam and a couple of these are now on my anniversary list. You’re right: pearls add a luminosity to my face that no highlighter can duplicate.

  3. I’ve always loved and worn pearls. They are classic elegance no matter what you pair them with. Love mine with jeans, even distressed. My mother wore a small strand with her sweatsuit when she went on her daily walks. Now that’s elegance!

  4. I’m a fairly new convert to pearls, despite some older earrings and a necklace. Thanks to the Passage des Perles blog I work with Kojima Pearls, a wonderful online vendor that custom designs great pieces at very good prices. I have multiple freshwater pearls that work as earrings or pendants and are interchangeable. It’s not prohibitive to get the real thing and the beauty and quality are well worth it. I have some decent fakes but I haven’t touched them since I purchased my new ones. I wear them with everything. Plus I have something to leave the granddaughters.

  5. I love pearls and you have shared a great selection of modern options.
    I already have several strands of traditional pearl necklaces as well as a large grey baroque pair of studs that I received last year for my birthday. Mother passed on her opera length baroque pearl necklace and a triple strand of Keshi pink pearls…I look forward to wearing these in her memory.

  6. Thanks, Susan. I love pearls and am fortunate to have two pearl necklaces in different lengths. I’m always looking for ways to wear them in a casual, modern way. My latest idea is a 24″ pearl necklace, cashmere crew neck sweater and small silk scarf tied at the neck with jeans. Now if it would only get cold enough to wear this outfit!

  7. Love the pearls! I’m glad to see they are coming back in vogue. I hope to see more articles like this too. As for me, I’d like an opera length necklace and that 3-strand freshwater necklace that you showed (loved that clasp!).

  8. I have a favourite mabe pearl ring which I’ve worn nearly every day for the past 8 years. It’s become my signature piece, and I often supplement it with pearl earrings or a bracelet. My single strand pearls feel a little corporate for my current life, but some of the baroque or keshi pearl necklaces would work – I feel a little online browsing session may occur this weekend. Thanks for showcasing pearls in a modern way – too often pigeonholed into ‘classic’ looks – but they can be so much more versatile.

  9. What a timely post! I lost one of my favorite pearl earrings over a year ago and now am shopping to replace it (taking note of your links). Pearls have been my “jewel” of choice since I was a young thing and I’m glad to see nice pearls coming back into favor.