Pearls have been around virtually forever and what is so unique about them is that they are still relevant for the discerning woman today – the pearl boom shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. By LOUISE TIPPEY
Whilst you read this you will be looking for some bling, dazzle and lustre from the aisles at the International Jewellery London. Listening to contemporary consumer demand for pearls is the key to your buying success if you are to appeal to millennials.
So where to start?
This season is not for the faint hearted, but nor does one have to be a complete extrovert to enjoy it. The trend of the bigger dramatic pearl was tempered by plenty of lustrous minimal geometric design pearls, elegant coloured pearl strands and classic layering pearl strands. Customers expect to see the classic pearls but you can always mix it up.
And therein lies the beauty of the pearl and the year ahead – there is something for everyone.
A Time of Individuality
Pearls are no longer just white and round, they are baroque too. High fashionistas are always looking for something unique, non-symmetrical and individual and this is where baroque pearls are an excellent buy. The market is expanding for these unusual pearls. Cool women appreciate their non-symmetrical quality and tactile aesthetic.
Kickstart your buying with pearls that shout individualism and offer the pearl fashionista a chance to express their individuality and style. Look for non-traditional high quality fireball shapes, ripple pearls, ‘mabe’ pearls, coin pearls or quirky ‘poke’ pearls.
Pearl savvy customers are well versed in the virtues of the pearl and now they are aware they can get bigger (bead nucleated) freshwater pearls. If you like big pearls then you are in luck. New freshwater bead nucleation techniques mean that pearls can grow to larger sizes than ever. Big pearls were once considered to be 9mm, but now the world is your oyster (quite literally) and bead nucleated freshwater pearls can now be upwards of 12mm.
Baroque pearls are often found in larger sizes and make amazing statement pendants and super-size earrings. Look for big ripple pearls, they appeared a few years ago and are the new phenomenon of the pearl world. They are really popular with anyone loves big pearls. Their metallic lustre is also pretty hard to resist. Perfect for the customer who wants more for their money.
Classic Design Reinvented
Millenials look for minimal and geometric stylish pieces using pearls in a refreshingly modern design. This trend definitely appeals to the younger generation where the look is clean and minimal and can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt or with a smart suit for work. It is all about understated sophistication, a return to femininity and architectural designs. The look works well with minimal gold and silver. The great thing about these pearl collections is that they are always wearable and can be mixed and matched for any occasion.
Look for freshwater pearl pull through earrings, pearl ear jackets, akoya pearl hoops, pearl duo earrings, duo pearl rings, trio of pearls, pearls on chains or the simple silver pearl on silver.
This season sees a revival in layering pearls. To effectively buy your pearls this way, mix different textures, colours and styles of pearls and add silver or leather to create interest.
Look for high quality pearls which layer beautifully. Think classic Chanel and monochrome and look for Tahitian pearls combined with white alabaster pearls for a powerful combination. Alternatively, for your more fashion-focused customers buy a variety of authentic pieces that will work well with the pearls to create fun and edgy pearl jewellery.
Hopefully I have inspired you to approach your buying in an innovative way. The next generation pearl design is definitely evolving and giving pearls a less classic look and a whole new lease of life in the jewellery sector. Now that you have planned your buying, all that remains is to grab your list and go buying.