If you frequent fashion websites or blogs, you might be reading about how pearls are making a “comeback.” At the Chanel Spring 2014 show, for example, Karl Lagerfeld dazzled spectators with his oversized pearl adornments. Lanvin followed suit in 2015, with gorgeous pearls beautifying the already-lovely styles flowing down the runway. And while any increased interest in pearls is always a good thing, true pearl enthusiasts know the real truth – pearls can never make a “comeback,” because they’ve never left in the first place.
Just looking at recent fashion history, cultured Chinese pearls hit the scene in the 1970s, flooding the market with pearls of all sizes and shapes. In the 1980s, Chinese pearls were even dyed a variety of colors, from bright red to blue to yellow to black – reflecting the fashions of the day. In the 1990s, the quality of the newly-blossomed Chinese cultured pearl market hit its stride, and a new generation of pearl lovers bought quality pieces to pass down through their families. And in the 2000s, the proliferation of the internet led to a mashup of international styles, as the average shopper could quickly and easily purchase fashions from around the globe. This included a steady interest in pearl accessories, including necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
As time passes and fashions change, the longevity of the pearl continues on. The same gemstones that have dazzled humans for thousands of years adorn the necks and wrists of everyone today from heads of state to schoolteachers. When it comes to pearls, some trends never go away – they remain a staple, even as the fashion world changes around them.