You’ve more than likely seen, or heard of, the iconic images of Harry Styles (recently seen) wearing a pearl necklace. The star has been spotted wearing a beautiful traditional pearl string necklace for at least two weeks and stems back to 2019 when he was seen on the red carpet at the Met Gala wearing a single pearl earring. The amazing picture above showcases one of Harry’s finest red carpet moments in pearls – credit to @skippingirlsterling.
And it’s not just Harry who has discovered the stylish edge pearls can bring to any attire – well known figures such as Usher, Pharrell Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sam Smith, Maro Itoje, Marc Jacobs and Steven Tyler have all been spotted wearing pearls, showcasing the ability of pearls to elevate any look.
Looking at some of the iconic men who are currently wearing pearls (such as @themarcjacobs pictured above), you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a new, very ‘modern’ phenomenon. However, as far back as the history of pearls goes, so does the history of men wearing them stretch.
Before Mikimoto managed to successfully culture pearls, pearls were a symbol of wealth, power and nobility – and this mantle was taken up by both genders. This was a time when there was less distinction within fashion between men and women. Pearls were prized by men in multiple cultures, and among the earliest men to wear pearls were those of royalty and nobility, from Chinese royals in 2300 BC to Indian Maharajas. Polynesian warriors, known for their ferociousness, wore pearls as a sign of power and sometimes as amulets.
Men’s Pearl Jewellery with Meaning
We love meaning in jewellery here at Claudia Bradby and salute the use of pearls not only for jewellery, but as pieces of ‘be-jewellement’ – strung on turbans, and hats; made into extravagant brooches and belts, and embellishing clothing, too.
Of course, one of the most infamous pearls worn by men is the baroque pearl drop earring which Charles I wore when he was beheaded in 1649. Pearls of this size and lustre were rare, hence why Charles only wore one earring. And pictured below is Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Delhi, c. 1911. (Cartier Archives, Paris.)
What is exciting about men wearing pearls today, is that they are no longer constrained by their rarity to be a symbol of wealth, so the trend is more a reflection of the pearl itself.
We know and have built our unique pearl collections on the ability of the pearl adapting to the wearer.
They are less obvious that cut gemstones and have an allure that is genuinely unisex.In Ms Deborah Levy’s Booker-longlisted novel The Man Who Saw Everything (2019), her blue-eyed protagonist Saul Adler always wears a string of pearls. “I had never given much thought to a pearl belonging to a gender,” he observes at one point. It feels that the pearl revolution we started – taking the ‘stuffiness’ out of pearl jewellery and putting them into modern designs, has really gone mainstream.
We are delighted men have chosen the pearl as their gemstone of choice for today. We could even go so far as to say that the constriction placed on both men and women, by ‘civilisation’, is loosening and both men and women are now able to reclaim who they want to be, rather than who convention says they should be. This too lies at the heart of what we believe – that you are the one making the decisions, creating your own style.
More men wearing pearls is something we truly celebrate.