June practically owns pearls, what with weddings, graduations, birthdays, and pearls' affinity for summer clothes. What if you were once given a classic strand or bracelet that you now find too conservative for your present life?
A piece like those shown above (from American Pearl), might summon memories of a loved parent or a special day, but if you find it too conservative for your present life, you can update it instantly by wearing your memento with other pearl jewelry. (You can also restyle older pearls; to see examples, click "restyling jewelry" and "rehab your pearls" on the right menu.)
Choose new earrings instead of matching studs. With a white strand, wear pretty dangles by Dana Kellin, pink quartz beads surrounded by tiny lavender pearls. Price, $172.
Tai's white pearl and red tassel bracelet is the one I'd choose to combine with a glowing but more traditional single-row bracelet; price, $62.
Or, for a bracelet with silver undertones, I'd pick a silver keshi bracelet (or two) to join that classic. You might have to change the clasps so that the metals coordinate, a small job. Shown, keshi bracelet from Etsy seller thebigbluebead; price, $28.
Yes, you can mix pearl varieties, just pay attention to the undertone: cream, silver, rose or absolutely white-white. This special strand of tiny Japanese akoya keshis would blend marvelously with cream-undertoned whites. I would have bought this instantly if it were longer than 16.5 inches. Price, $342; from Kojima Company.
A pendant changes pearls entirely and is my preferred strategy for pearls under 7.5mm, which then become the "chain" for the pendant. Certain pearls are just magical: a 16.8mm natural-colour Kasumi that flashes gold, lavender and peach topped with a green glass baguette ($702 at Kojima Company).
One last idea: go retro. Adding a killer pair of retro or mid-century earrings makes the trad necklace or bracelet look intentional, not leftover. Maybe you have a pair of your mother's; if not, channel Joan Holloway, not Betty Draper; they need a little wiggle.
I like these flower-inspired gold-filled screw-ons, just $32 from Etsy seller june2six:
Once Joan became a partner, though, she'd have bought these whimsical yet sophisticated mid-century 14k flower earrings from Beladora! (price, $995.) Oh right, no pearls here, but I liked them so much they made the cut.
If pearls come into your life, you're lucky, but sometimes luck needs a little nudge into the present, and the solution is... more pearls.
Have fun taking yours out of the jewelry box, and if you wish, contact me to show us your update.