Cool Ways To Wear Pearls That'll Have Your Poor, Sweet Granny Clutching Hers

There are no dirty pearl-necklace jokes in this article. Sorry, Mom.
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There are no dirty pearl-necklace jokes in this article. Sorry, Mom.

I honestly can't remember the last time I wore pearls.

Wait. Lying.

I wore them almost a decade ago when I was a bridesmaid in my friend Elizabeth's wedding, and it was my fault. I say "fault" because I typically don't like pearl jewelry, but Liz asked me to help her pick out a necklace that would go nicely with the chocolate-brown, strapless bridesmaids dresses, and we agreed that the champagne-colored pearl strands we found made the most sense for everyone in the bridal party.

pearl-lizwedding_0

And they looked fine. Pretty, even. But they are so not me. And I'd bet they are so not a lot of people.

Even though there's nothing inherently wrong with the stereotypes I associate with a classic strand of pearls or pearl stud earrings -- grandmothers, late-'50s sitcom housewives, southern sorority girls (which I may technically qualify as) -- the look is one I just don't feel authentic wearing. 

I had all but ruled out ever working pearls into my accessory repertoire, but recently, I've started seeing a surge in non-traditional pearl jewelry. I might even go so far as to call it edgy. And I hate that word! But I don't hate these pearl pieces...

Chic yet subtle, like the gigantic balloons I'm inexplicably standing in front of.

Chic yet subtle, like the gigantic balloons I'm inexplicably standing in front of.

The earrings and necklace I'm wearing above are the first pieces that got me thinking pearl jewelry could actually look pretty cool. They're both from Dogeared's "Pearls Of..." collection, which is full of everyday-wearable items. 

I have weirdo attached earlobes.

I have weirdo attached earlobes.

The earrings, which go for $58, feature a sterling-silver spike (spikes are badass, right?) hanging from a potato pearl. I was hoping that means the pearl came out of a potato, but it's just a term for roundish, freshwater pearls.

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The "Thorn Bead Cup" necklace, $62, features the same kind of pearl hanging from an 18-inch chain and set in a sterling silver... thorn bead cup? Sure, go with it. It's delicate but not dainty. I think I like it even more in the gold-dipped setting with a black pearl.

Totally worth the extra six bucks.

Totally worth the extra six bucks.

Not even remotely surprising, Catbird has some really freakin' cool pearl stuff, the freakin' coolest of which has to be this necklace:

Hanging from a 32-inch gold-fill chain is an oxidized silver "frog skeleton" hand literally clutching a pearl. I mean, what?! I'm almost afraid to wear this out of fear that I will become too awesome.

Digging the whole simulated-chordate-parts-with-pearls trend I just started a paragraph ago? You're in luck! Bittersweets NY has managed to make a strand of pearls look way less boring by throwing in the occasional silver serpent tongue.

Seven Tongues of Silver Necklace, $275 at Bittersweets NY.

Seven Tongues of Silver Necklace, $275 at Bittersweets NY.

Ear cuffs are jewelry, right? Sure. And faux pearls are still pearls, at least to the untrained eye. That's why I'm going to bring your attention to this awesome and affordable ear cuff:

Pearl Quintet Ear Cuff, $28 at BaubleBar.

Pearl Quintet Ear Cuff, $28 at BaubleBar.

In the case of this no-piercing-required ear thingy, acrylic "pearls" are set in plated base metal. I know it doesn't sound very glamorous when it's worded that way, but try not to think of faux pearls as artificial -- think of them as vegan.

Or not.

Anyway, back to real pearls, which can be remarkably inexpensive in some cases, one of those cases being if you want to shove one through your nose. Etsy shop KRDesigns sells a cute little freshwater-pearl and sterling-silver nose stud that I would absolutely spend the $13 on if my nose were pierced.

Everyone say hi to KRDesigns owner/designer/model Krisztina Racz! I have no idea if she'll see this article, but I'm sure she'd appreciate the warm welcome if she does.

Everyone say hi to KRDesigns owner/designer/model Krisztina Racz! I have no idea if she'll see this article, but I'm sure she'd appreciate the warm welcome if she does.

Have I convinced any of you fellow pearl-resistant jewelry wearers to give them a shot? Do you already wear pearls pretty regularly? Aren't you proud of me for not making any pervy jokes in this article?