First, three observations about refreshing (or starting) your jewelry collection:
1. Jewelry dates, even pearls
'80s seed pearl earrings that look like hanging bunches of teensy grapes? Done like a TV dinner! The options are, restyle, donate or stash somewhere till they "come back". Unfortunately, unless you reincarnate as a human female, that could be too long.
2. Your taste changes
I had a thing for Egyptian Revival, scarabs and art noveau flourishes. This stuff is wrong for my casual clothes, too ornate and heavy. You might find you once wore only gold and now prefer silver, or vice versa.
3. So much jewelry is overpriced; you can feel vulnerable and confused.
I place most "fashion" or "designer" branded jewelry in this category.
But the boutique or craft show vendor does not necessarily deliver stellar value, either. Build your eye; look, and learn to assess workmanship and materials, or bring along a friend who can. (Some readers have e-mailed photos and questions. I'm happy to give an opinion about pearls, with the caveat that I can't examine the pieces like I'd do in person.)
When I posted on reviving jewelry; one reader commented that she didn't like a single thing. That's hardly surprising, as jewelery is a matter of taste. I'll take that risk again to show pearl earrings that are current, reflect good value, and promise good shelf life. The fourth factor is how they'd look on you.
1. Hi, you big, gorgeous stud
8mm or larger shows the pearl to advantage and lights your face. I'd bypass round whites except for the most conservative of tastes; pearls have come to the party!
For whites, the 14-15mm white coin pearl studs by Kate Hines update the classic with details that make the difference: bold gold claws and a size that flashes a swathe of lustre. Price for 14k gold setting, $545; in sterling silver, $224.
2. Pearls plus unusual stones
Lisa said, "Accent your pearls", and here's how: grab these Kate Hines gems, set in silver: Iolite Orb earrings, $299 on sale, a great price. Rich, purply-blue Iolite is a versatile gem that looks good on everyone. Also made in a luminous pearl and moonstone combination, $300.
An utterly classic design done in a an audacious combo and on sale: do I love you or what? Kate Hines black pearl and paraiba topaz earrings set in silver punch up a clean, versatile style; price, $156. Ooooh, baby!
3. Cool keshis
If you can imagine a woman in round white studs standing next to one in Tahitian keshis, you'll see which one looks more current, though both earrings are pleasing. (For more about keshis, see this post.)
These 9mm dove grey Tahitian keshi studs on 14k yellow gold posts (from Kojima Company) appeal to the woman who wants her pearls with earthy, subtle style. Price, $252.
Petite budgets will find keshis kind; Indulgems glam up one-inch keshi drops by cheating a few no-tell accents: cz doubles for diamond, 18k plating mimics gold, but the design, with the inlaid "diamond", is completely chic. On sale for about $50 from Saks.
4. Quirky charm
The key error in updating is what I call backsorting, buying something because it goes with what you already have. Then nothing looks current; it's as if you bought '90s shoes to go with your new dress.
You know what they say about leopard, "Matches nothing, matches everything"? Same with earrings; just go for it without overthinking the coordination.
What if you could inject such wit into your wardrobe for $50?
Joli's grey pearl dangle earrings ($48 at Twist) achieve their magic by using vermeil (gold plating) rather than gold to set those white vintage beads, and, since they're on your ears, I wouldn't worry about wear, if you store them carefully.
A woman in a cardi, a shirt, and slim pants: her spring uniform. Then she adds a pair of 14k mid-century pearl cluster leaf earrings, as distant from brand-blandness as Grace Kelly is from the Kardashians. Her uniform becomes unique. Price, $595 from Beladora; presently clips but could be altered to posts.
5. Breathtaking natural colour
The pearl should breathe and shimmer, with a sensuousness depth that transports you. (Some vendors make a big deal of their flat white genuine pearls with no body colour. Genuine does not equal captivating.)
These 12mm natural peach colour Chinese freshwater pearls, ($225 from Kojima Company) would make you feel like Juliet Binoche, bien dans sa peau.
Unset now, the lovely folks at Kojima will make this pair into studs or dangles for a reasonable price, or you could take them to your jeweler.
Voilà! An April assortment of pearl possibilities to revive your collection–or to choose for a June birthday, for which pearl is the traditional birthstone.