You can’t be blamed for assuming that pearls are for mothers, or even grandmothers. There is something very retro and vintage about these organic gemstones, but thanks to some new generation jewellers, you will find yourself falling in love with them all over again.

Pearls are perhaps the most famous gemstones that are produced by living organisms – oysters. Mostly viewed as traditional ornaments, they are often worn as single or double-strand necklaces with pearl studs or single drop earrings in white or cream shades. Rooted strongly in the history of jewellery, they were meant for the elite, and signified purity and being ‘classy’.

But, the recent revolution of pearl jewellery has been the fastest and the most avant garde in the last decade. With technological innovation in pearl farming, pearls are now available in a variety of appealing colours, shapes, sizes and price tags, giving an opportunity to jewellery designers globally to experiment with this wonderful gemstone.

Colourscape

Earlier, the whiter and rounder the pearl would be, the higher it would be valued, but that is not the valuation criteria anymore. With a whole new range of colours now available in the market from cream to gold to chocolate and from grey to black, pearls are also found with pink, blue and green hues. The Fire and Ice collection by Ganjam, for example, uses various shades of Tahitian pearls and incorporates them into contemporary jewellery.

“When it comes to latest jewellery trends, the popularity of pearls has escalated to a whole new level. Pearls have always, and still continue to appeal to customers who have a penchant for delicate and meticulous fine jewellery. The ‘Fire and Ice’ collection from Ganjam is delicate in its make. With pearls from the Tahitian Seas being the focus of this collection, they feature a subtle softness and femininity that adds to the whole look and feel of it”, says Juhee S Bolakhe, assistant design manager at Ganjam.

Irregularly shaped pearls, also known as baroque pearls, are also hugely in demand and it is their misshapen nature that inspires creativity in designers. The gleaming pair of earrings by Aurelle jewellery with multi-coloured baroque pearls are unique and rare. Even the designer Leshna Shah cannot replicate the same pair ever again as no two baroque pearls are identical. The contemporary ring from The House of Rose has also been designed around a baroque South Sea pearl and accented with brilliant-cut diamonds, set in 18K White Gold.

New appeal

With the changing culture of pearls, even traditional Indian jewellery is seeing revolutionary transformations. The House of Rose is famous among jewellery lovers for their modern avatars of India-inspired bling. The classic allure of pearls plays an important role in them. Their delicate pearl tassel and pearl string necklaces interspersed with diamond, gemstone studded beads and motifs make unique necklaces.

“The millennials are different from the previous generation. For them, it’s all about an experience. And with today’s digital revolution, they can gain a lot of information and thus understand value of pearls as well as their varieties such as natural salt water pearls, fresh water pearls from China, Keshi pearls, Akoya pearls offered by Mikimoto, Tahitian pearls and the Conch pearls from the Caribbean, which are the rarest and the most expensive pearls in the world. Thus, when adorned, pearls become a part of the wearer’s beauty and enhance one’s complexion. Pearl has always stood for understated class and elegance, and its opacity attracts attention, as it does not reflect light like other gemstones. For people who do not appreciate overstated opulence, pearls offer a chance to stand out,” adds Biren Vaidya, MD and creative head behind The House of Rose.

Today, pearls signify a contemporary and cutting edge fashion; they have re-invented the classic appeal and added subtle elegance. Next time you see pearl jewellery, don’t think it’s only meant for you mom. Go ahead and pair it with that summer dress or a gorgeous sari and watch heads turn!

Preeta Agarwal is a Delhi-based writer and photographer

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