Pearls are swiftly returning to their previously held position as an accessory for all genders. While it may have been less common in the last few decades, there have been men wearing pearls as long as humans have adorned themselves in the nacreous beauties.
Throughout history, pearls have been associated with authority and power. They were long seen as a signal of wealth and station in men’s looks. This is not a new concept, but rather a reawakening. One of the first peeks of this renaissance seems to have been Pharrell walking for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week in 2016. Celebrities have been seen not only wearing pearls but absolutely rocking them in the past few years.
Pearls were a staple of the look for European Aristocracy, often inlaid across articles of clothing in a flamboyant show of status. Queen Elizabeth, I gifted The Drake Jewel to Sir Francis Drake. From the jeweled locket hangs a large teardrop pearl. The locket hides within a small painting of the Queen and on the opposite side was a painting of a phoenix. The phoenix was her emblem. The jewel from which the pearl is suspended has a double cameo. The cameos feature busts of both a European figure and an African male. There are varying conclusions about what that signified. At the end of his career, he was said to have become friends with some communities of Africans that had escaped Spanish slavery. That is quite a far journey for a man who began his career as a slave trader. He wore the jewel and pearl with great pride and is pictured displaying it hanging from his belt.
In the current day, I think that some people are simply straying from what we would have considered fashion rules in more recent decades. We are not all locked into taking the same jewelry journey. People should wear what they love, and what makes them feel good. It is even better when they look fabulous doing it. The perception of this being a softening of masculinity would have horrified the kings of the past. Those kings wore pearls as a measure of their own empowerment.
Even when it was considered more counter-cultural for a man to be accessorizing with pearls, there were still men who took part. Alice Cooper and Steven Tyler both come to mind, as they certainly wore pearls on occasion. They were not strangers to the idea of mocking the idea of being culturally defined by one style.
I think it is safe to say that pearls for fearlessly stylish men will be around for a while. Pearls are approachable, accessible, and as Jackie Kennedy once said “’Pearls are always appropriate.” I am a big fan of pearls and this is a trend that I am loving, in part because I am just thrilled to see more people accessorizing! There was a window of time that it was considered somewhat, “unmanly” for a man to wear jewelry outside of cufflinks, and a wedding ring. As a jewelry lover, I am just stoked to see more jewelry styled in unique and exciting ways. I am here for it, and I hope that more people will get on board!
GET THE LOOK
Do you love it? I would love to see any men’s pearl pieces that you may love! Show them off in the comments.
Written by Kayti Kawachi