12 Cool Pieces of Pearl Jewelry That Aren’t Your Mother’s (Though She’ll Wish They Were)

Photo: Unsplash/Miguel Runa
Pearl jewelry used to feel visually synonymous with ladies like Emily Gilmore—while lovable, just a tad bit on the rigid and stuffy side. Recently however, the precious matter made from the soft tissue of mollusks has been christened with cool factor thanks to a new guard of designers working with the material in unexpected ways.

The defining difference of this recent incarnation of pearl jewelry is that it is, dare I say, fun. I know—it seems like an oxymoron, but this new crop of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings is ripe for everyday wear. It's delicate, but also youthful and not at all the type of stuff your grandmother would wear.

What really makes modern pearl jewelry stand out from its predecessors is the way makers are working with the material. You won't see a string a pearls in our picks below, but you will find lots of stand alone, solitary ones used to make statement earrings and playful pendant necklaces. We're also clocking very 2018 trendy pieces like ear cuffs that have been encrusted with the teeniest pearls in lieu of more obvious materials such as diamonds. And to further distance themselves from the structured, uniformed stereotype typical of pearls, jewelry makers are opting to work with fresh water or baroque versions, which are known for their irregular shapes, as opposed to perfectly spherical types like the ones that come from Tahiti. The result? One-of-a-kind pieces that are as uniquely individual as the wearer herself.

Personally I'm a fan of kitsch, almost offensively playful jewelry, so there's some of that—but there's also the type of barely there jewelry you can wear through the duration of your workout. In other words, the pearls below are definitely the type worth clutching.

Moving on from delicate jewelry to another type of delicates: Here are cute pairs of cotton underwear to get you through the summer and the stunt bras that will work for every outfit

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