Summer 2017: Pearls | Patricia Style


Linked by a heavy chain, clasped by crystal-studded claws, or surrounded by roundels, we’re crazy for the new pearl collection by Nathan & Moe.

Pearls have taken 2017 by storm.

The new look of pearls lends itself to heavy layering with our own collection of leather-strung white, peacock, and gray freshwater pearls. 

Always a classic.

Though pearls will always be a perennial classic, their popularity has waxed and waned over the decades. 

It's part of my personal aesthetic to not chase trends, and maybe this is why I love pearls so much. They're always the go-to accessory that's sure to be on point no matter what the "It" piece of the season is. A gorgeous pair of pearl earrings instantly elevates any outfit.

And a pearl ring? There's a reason we carefully hand down our pearl rings from generation to generation - the pearl is an iconic representation of the timeless, classically well-dressed woman.

Types of pearls:

Pearls are classified by their origin and shape.

Natural pearls

Natural pearls are quite rare today and can only be authenticated via X-ray. These are the pearls you probably learned about in school - the ones formed when a grain of sand is trapped in a mollusk and a nacreous coating builds up around it.

Natural pearls are the most expensive and are sold by carat weight.

Cultured pearls

Though they form by the same mechanism as natural pearls, cultured pearls begin by human intervention. An object is deliberately inserted to cause pearl formation. The shape of that object determines the final pearl shape.

Cultured pearls are sold by their size. The thicker that outer coating is, the more expensive the pearl.

Saltwater pearls

Either natural or cultured, this one is pretty easy to figure out - saltwater pearls are formed in mollusks that live in saltwater.

Freshwater pearls

Almost always cultured, freshwater pearls are grown in a lake or river.

Fake pearls

Made of coated plastic or glass, fake pearls are, well, not real pearls. They're lighter, not as smooth, and chip easily. That being said, glass pearls can be difficult to tell from the real thing.

Pearl shapes:

  • Spherical: Round pearls. The rounder it is, the more expensive.
  • Symmetrical: Pearls that have symmetry but aren't round. (ie. pear shaped or oblong)
  • Baroque: Asymmetrical pearls of any shape. They might be the least expensive but are often the most beautiful and unique. Baroque pearls are often found in vintage pieces. 

How to layer pearls:

It's easier than you might think. To get the layered effect, vary the lengths and sizes of your pieces. And don't forget to play with colors. Pearls come in a range of shades from black to seashell pink and everything in-between. I'm in love with this baroque pearl with sapphire, diamond, and ruby roundels. 

Who says you have to stick with your grandmother's single strand of matched whites?

Try matching dark pearls with lighter pastels for emphasis. Mix your materials.

Mix your materials. Incorporate a different style of necklace, maybe a gold medallion or a turquoise pendant, into a layered set of pearls. Shells, semi-precious stones, and leather cording can all be used to change the look and feel of an outfit.

And don't forget that pearls can be worn almost anywhere. From shoulder-sweeping earrings to cuff bracelets, studded onto clothing or embellishing an evening bag, pearls really are everywhere this season. Find ways to incorporate them into your wardrobe that work with your existing pieces ... and your personality.

Experimentation is key. Play with your favorite pieces until you achieve an effect that you love. 

How to take care of pearls:

Because pearls are organic, meaning they're formed from a living organism, they require special care and consideration. If you notice your pearls have lost their luster (or sheen), they've been cleaned too often or too vigorously, and the external coating has been destroyed.

If you notice your pearls have lost their luster (or sheen), they've been cleaned too often or too vigorously, and the external coating has been destroyed.

  • Dirty pearls can be cleaned with a small amount of mild soap and water. 
  • Always take off your pearls before applying lotion or moisturizer.
  • Apply your makeup and perfume before you put on your pearls. They'll stay cleaner this way and require less maintenance.
  • Never submerge pearls in liquid.
  • Wipe pearls clean with a damp lint-free cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Be careful to rinse off the soap and pat dry. 
  • Never use a harsh cleanser like ammonia. 
  • Never put pearls in an ultrasonic or vibrating cleaner.
  • Never use an abrasive cleaner. 
  • Store pearls separately, not with other gemstones. Pearls scratch easily and the outer covering can chip.
  • Don't clean your pearls too often. Once their outer coating is gone, they'll lose their luster forever.
  • Periodically have high-quality pearl necklaces restrung to avoid cord breakage.
  • If in doubt about cleaning your pearls, do nothing. 

If you love pearls the way I do, this is your season. Embrace it. If you're new to pearls, don't be afraid of their price tag. Pearls are an investment in both your wardrobe and yourself. 

Either way, let me know how you wear your pearls and if you have a favorite piece!

Get the look at PATRICIA right now!

xxo, trish


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