Pearl Trends Now


A lustrous spotlight remains on pearl jewelry. From runways to retailers’ cases, pearls remain desirable and modern thanks to innovators in the category. Among them are Mastoloni and Imperial, both longtime producers of value-oriented cultured pearl designs.

Both makers say earrings are a perennial favorite in 6–7 mm freshwater or akoya varieties. Buyers acquire a fairly even mix of them—50% akoya and 50% freshwater.

“Pearl studs are like the LBD (little black dress) of jewelry—everybody wants them, and everybody needs them,” maintains Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development for Imperial.

Ray Mastoloni, co-owner of the eponymous firm, agrees while pointing out another key sales attribute. “They always fit!” he says.

Mastoloni Pearls

Subhi Jain, marketing director of Shefi Diamonds, sees them in a similar vein. “Pendants and earrings are ideal gifts because they eliminate the need to guess the recipient’s finger size,” she says.

When price is an issue, buyers opt for freshwater pearls, which Mastoloni calls an “exceptional value.”

“Their affordability combined with their enduring beauty makes freshwater pearls a top choice for jewelry enthusiasts seeking elegance without compromising on quality,” he adds.

Jain goes as far as to call them “valuable treasures thanks to technological advancements.” She’s talking about bead-nucleated cultured freshwater pearls, which because of their identical culturing process to South Sea pearls, “boast unparalleled size, exquisite finishes, and remarkable nacre, offering stunning possibilities for contemporary pearl jewelry,” she says.

                             Royal Chain

At Royal Chain Group, Phillip Gabriel Maroof’s gold lovers want pearl accents in their purchases. That’s why the vice president of marketing and design is introducing nature-inspired earrings with pearls, pearls and 14k gold beaded chains, and open-heart necklaces with pearls in 14k gold. “We’ve seen strong demand for these combinations,” he says.

Imperial, too, hears the call for gold and pearls, which is why his firm is expanding its collection of brushed yellow links in 14k gold with freshwater pearls. “The brushed finish adds a distinctive texture and visual depth, enhancing the overall allure of this collections’ extensions,” he says.

And whenever retailers want a little glitzing up, they add bezel-set diamonds for a little extra oomph. PeriLynn Glasner of Lali Jewels says that her firm’s Tin Cup necklaces and bracelets are still going strong. The design and marketing director offers these now staple looks to clients in 14k gold with white or natural-color pastel freshwater pearls. “We have the classic pearl fashion pieces that look great all year long,” she says.

Grenier sees the biggest opportunity for pearl in the wedding category. Imperial debuted one last year in Las Vegas with the intention of offering new limited-edition looks every 12–18 months.

Lali Jewels

“We know the bridal category for many jewelers is their most important one,” she says. “There are multiple selling opportunities for weddings—gifts from groom to the bride, parents to the bride, the wedding party, and even self-purchases. We want to help jewelers capitalize on this market and create lifelong relationships. Pearls are a natural gift choice, and we’ve done the work for jewelers with beautiful designs and displays which set the category apart.”

And while she’s pleased with the pearl’s classic positioning in the market, there’s room for growth.

“I’d like to see retailers take more chances with pearl, meaning experiment with designs or themes they typically shy away from, saying it’s too ‘out of the box’ for pearl,” she says. For example, pearl and enamel—Imperial is pursuing this and has designed a handful of beautiful and saleable designs. Some retailers get it immediately and know it will capture attention and speak to the right customer; they understand that it can be the special item in the case that clearly says, ‘Look at me, I am pearl! You didn’t expect this’! And then an entire new view of pearl happens and so do sales.”