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Fashion & Beauty

Why Pearls Are Having A Moment

  |  By Alison McGill

Photography by Genevieve Charbonneau. Styling by Tara Williams. Editor & creative production by Alison McGill. Makeup & hair by Alexandre Deslauriers using Bioderma, Charlotte Tilbury and R+Co. Nails by Tamara Di Lullo, CND/Candy Nail Bar. Model Dina, Dulcedo.

Two words: Kamala Harris. Madam Vice President has put the spotlight back on a tried-and-true classic accessory and as pearl lovers, we could not be more thrilled.

Pearls are forever an elegant choice for a wedding day and there are so many ways to wear them depending on the style vibe you are going for. Pile them on for a Hollywood statement look or wear a few elegant pieces (ie. drop earrings or a three-strand necklace) for a traditional-yet-modern look. We spoke to renown Toronto jeweller Myles Mindham, owner of Mindham Fine Jewellery Ltd. about the ever-lasting elegance of pearls, his favourite way for brides to accessorize with on their wedding day and his thoughts on Ariana Grande’s diamond and pearl engagement ring.

Gold pearl cuff bracelet by Assael

What are the current trends in pearls and why are they always in style?  “Pearls are a classic because of their understated elegance, simplicity and what they say about the wearer. Pearls don’t scream, they glow, and the design of pearl pieces can be classic or cutting edge. They are a blank canvas for the designer to explore the various ways to accentuate the client’s personal style. Pearls endure because they look as beautiful on a 16-year-old girl as they do on a 90-year-old matriarch. Perhaps size and gem luster deserve to be different, but the message is the same: simple, elegant and beautiful symmetry never get old. Pearls really never go out of style; trends of course fluctuate, but pearls and their appeal just keep coming back into vogue! The other subtle quality they possess is sentimentality. If well cared for they can last generations.
When it comes to trends in pearl jewellery there are a few happening for 2021. The skilful blending of various colours of pearls in a variety of lengths. This mixing of coloured pearls creates a casual and abstract look that is unlike the traditional plain white strand. We’re also seeing an asymmetrical partnering of pearls with uniquely shaped and colour gemstones. Because the colour tones of pearls vary greatly–yes, even white pearls–using coloured gemstones of the same undertones or overtones can coax these colours visibility, creating interest and variety. Yellow gold has taken such a strong place in the market in recent times and the contrast between pearls and the definitive colour of yellow gold is striking. Lastly, pearls have begun to cross the gender divide again. Traditionally a female item, it seems some men have migrated to this remarkable and beautiful gem. 2020 marked a milestone in my personal career of 30 years. For the first time I actually sold several Tahitian pearl bracelets to men. There has been such a buzz around this trend on social media; stylish and confident men are wearing this prized gem encouraged by the likes of Harry Styles, Usher, Joe Jonas and of course Canada’s own Shawn Mendes who are embracing it as a fashion statement.”

Black pearl drop earrings by Assael

What are the most unique pearls and what are your favourites?  
“Beyond the classic Akoya pearls we are so familiar with, in various lengths from sweater to opera, there are a multitude of rare and exotic styles, colours and species available in today’s marketplace. I work with Assael pearls and this is what they excel at—they have the largest selection and variety available with a focus being on fine gem quality pearls. Colours always tend to be subtle and lean towards earth tones, not primary tones. The predominant pearl colours are mostly a result of where they are grown globally and the kind of mollusc they are harvested from. Some of the remarkable modern design concepts include the blending of these various coloured species that can be found on the classic white pearl which come in a variety of creamy and rose colour overtones. There are other variations of light gray through dark, almost black Tahitian Pearl which were famously brought to North America by Salvador Assael, now known as the “Pearl King”. My favourite colour species of pearls have changed over the years, I simply cannot choose a single favorite. Each have such a unique beauty that being able to choose one is impossible.”

How do you suggest styling pearls for your wedding day?
“For a bride, I always feel it’s important to do you on your wedding day. Pearls tend to exemplify innocence and are a beautiful complement to the traditional white wedding gown. A single strand of white pearls is a bridal classic, however using one’s imagination to step it up is always exciting to see. Don’t overdo it, but don’t be too subtle either. I love a classic double or triple strand of 9mm pearls with a brooch as a side clasp? For a more fashion-forward look, a single long strand of 50-inch opera length pearls across the gown held in place by a brooch on the opposing shoulder plays on the asymmetric look. For the inventive, artsy bride, there are a multitude of beautiful colours and shapes to use as an accent to enhance their chosen bridal colours. The magnificent free form baroque-shaped pearls have an outstanding ability to please the eye and make a modern statement. And of course, the classic twist with an undulating size of pearl to create an extraordinary abstract look. I’ve created a wonderful necklace that uses various sizes of pearls to represent the ebb and flow of water, the source of all pearls."

Single strand pearl necklace by Assael

What is the classic piece of pearl jewellery every woman should own?
“The pearl and diamond stud earring and matching strand of 18-inch Akoya or south sea pearls are the classic items to own. The variable elements with this classic combo are the size and colour and this look can also be achieved with alternate shapes of diamonds—square, oval, or pear-shaped–that will mix it up. The interesting yet practical thing about this versatile look is it can transition perfectly from day to evening. When choosing perfect, classic pearl necklace it’s important subtle colour of the pearl blends pair well with the wearer. A simple rule is if you have fair skin, select a pink or rose tone and for darker skin tones a cream and warm toned gem looks incredible.  wearer should select a pink or rose tone, and a brunette olive skin individual should choose a creamier or warmer tone gem.”

Pearl ring by Assael

How about pearl engagement rings—these can be very beautiful and unique pieces!
“Pearls, because of their amorphous structure, are relatively delicate and not considered ideal for an engagement ring, simply because they are more delicate than harder gemstones. However, they have indeed been presented to individuals as an expression of love for centuries. Ariana Grande’s new engagement ring features a large oval shaped diamond accented with a sentimental pearl from her grandfather is a beautiful ring style and an excellent example of the asymmetrical trend I spoke of earlier. It’s the importance of making pearls part of your personal style. In this case, I think it’s fantastic she insisted on using a pearl in her ring for sentimental reasons. I’ve always believed that jewellery creates an energy that this kind of sentiment exemplifies. In creating such a unique piece, this now famous engagement ring has really helped to put pearls on the radar with a new generation.”


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