How to Accessorize with Pearls

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

The timeless trend of cultured freshwater pearls…

We usually don't equate timeless with trendy, but cultured freshwater pearls are truly a timeless trend. Pearls have been popular throughout history, highly regarded as a prim and proper piece of jewelry--classic and steeped in tradition.

But don't let this fool you--because the classic pearl accessory has undergone a glamorous makeover!

The must-have, ''classic'' piece of pearl jewelry--the single-strand pearl necklace--has transformed into extra long lengths and tasseled multi-strand pearl accessories. Cultured freshwater pearl necklace designs are incorporating semi-precious bead accents and pearls are dripping from gold or silver chains. Jewelry artists are also designing with colored pearls--creating beautiful tone-on-tone jewelry pieces.

Different than most necklaces, pearl necklaces are defined by where they hang when worn around the neck, instead of by their physical measurement.

Pearl necklace lengths:

The Pearl Collar - 14 to 17 inches

Three or more strands that fit snugly on the middle of the neck. Accessorize with boat neck, V-neck, or off-the-shoulder fashions.

The Pearl Choker - 16 to 18 inches

Versatile pearl choker is appropriate for accessorizing casual to formal eveningwear, and complements almost any neckline.

The Princess Necklace - 17 to 19 inches

Most common pearl necklace length, the princess necklace is well suited for crew and high necklines. It also complements low, plunging necklines.

The Matinee Necklace - 20 to 25 inches

A pearl matinee necklace is an ideal choice for casual or business attire. Looks best with high necklines and adds sophistication to a professional look.

The Opera Necklace - 26 to 36 inches

Worn as a single strand with high necklines or doubled to create a fashionable two-strand choker. Knot at the neckline or above the bust to create a stylish vintage look and accessorize with casual attire for a cutting-edge fashion statement.

The Pearl Rope - 37 inches or longer

A favorite of Coco Chanel, this luxurious length can be made with several clasps, enabling it to be broken down into different necklace and bracelet combinations, or doubled and even tripled to create a stunning multi-strand choker. Pearl ropes can also be knotted and slung over the shoulder to accentuate the beauty of a backless dress.

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