Happy 2020! Pearls for the new "Roaring '20s"

Feels like a milestone, this double-20 year, which kicks off with the traditional first-of-the-year pearl post.

The last century's '20s, when my mother was a Chicago flapper, are still celebrated as the heady era of long pearl ropes and high-arm bracelets,"talkies" and speakeasies—before the 1929 crash brought the party to a grim halt.

Claudette Colbert in a pearl choker and rope:

Colbert's pearls were gems for those of means; provided they weren't doused in My Sin, they could still be worn now. But the pearl industry has changed vastly in a century, putting the pieces in the Passage's windows within reach—though some take serious saving up.

In the 1920s, Japanese cultured pearls had just begun to be marketed; in 1924, a French trial determined they were "real gems". (Source.) Today, cultured pearls are the norm; prices range from a few dollars to thousands, and women appreciate, more than ever, that they are environmentally sustainable.

Let's window-shop some modern pearls for 2020 women.

Sleek and special

1. A siren indeed: Jan Logan's freshwater (10mm) pearl and sterling silver Odyssey bracelet. Price, $AU 985.

2. Wendy Graham of UK-based Pearlesence applies yellow or white gold leaf to pearls, borrowing the Japanese art of kintsugi or "golden repair". (The gold leaf is then sealed for durability). This bracelet is of big (12mm-14mm) freshwater soufflĂ© pearls with white gold leaf and inset tiny pink czs. Price, £100.

3. Notice anything new, dear? Might that be my Kojima Company 18mm rainbow metallic keshi earrings that shimmer their little hearts out? The price, $360, is also lovely.

The Necklace That Came of Age

I used to say, You're a necklace woman or you're not. But now, I think it's just a matter of finding the pearls that you'd wear any day. Detail shown below.

Left, Big year: Someone wrote near year-end with a request to help her find deep-black Tahitians to celebrate an impressive achievement. (I'm not a pearl dealer but will reply re sources.)

Some women wear the darkest Tahitians beautifully, but on others, the effect is rather heavy, so a mix of the dark pearls and lighter elements flatters more. Look what happens when they are strung on gold chain, lit with apatites! Twenty inches of heaven from Judy McCormick; price, $2, 350.

Centre, Having it all: This Kojima Company chain-link necklace dances through 48 beautifully-composed inches of Tahitians, CFWs, akoyas, golden and white South Seas, Tahitian keshi and one sumptuous Tahitian set with a faceted sapphire. Turn it, and new vistas open. Price, $2, 250.

Right, Sapphires and elegant whites: Some prefer a classic pearl; these add a glint of personality. From Pearlescence, a 53cm/20.8in. necklace of their best-quality 10.5mm-11.5mm white freshwater pearls and 14k gold handmade rondelles set with faceted sapphires. Price, £995.

Happy New Year, and may the new decade be full of discoveries and joys for you.


LauraH said…
So nice to enjoy your glowing, shimmering post on this rather gloomy day. Welcome back!
Leslie M said…
Something new for the new year! I’ve never heard of kintsugi, but it creates a lovely patchwork. If I had not already shot my wad on earrings at Kojima in 2019 I’d love that silver Odyssey bracelet. Luckily, it is already gone. Your influence has reached Australia. 😍
Happy New Year and so glad you are back.
Laura J said…
Welcome back; hope you had a good holiday and blogging break! Great to start the year with pearls. Wore my Tahitians a lot recently— just simple drops but much loved!
Duchesse said…
LauraH: Thanks for your encouragement.

Leslie M : Jan Logan makes these pieces, so I'll bet this bracelet can be made if one orders. (Most pieces on the site either are or can be made to order.) I try to show jewelllers who make the pieces, so can make another... not boutiques where if it is sold, tough pearl noogies.

Laura J: Someday I would love to see those on you!
royleen said…
Lovely! I scored similar Keishi earrings at Kojima's sale. Sarah knows how to tempt!
Duchesse said…
Royleen: She does have the best keshis!

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