Pearls have long been touted as one of the most precious pieces on the market. Wearing a piece of pearl jewelry is something that queens and other women would wear to denote their power or status. This unique fashion trend was long reserved for only women, but the modern era of fashion has stirred a new movement.
Men can now wear pearl jewelry with style, and there are plenty of ways to get started. Here’s everything you need to know about pearl jewelry for men.
What Are Pearls?
One of the reasons that pearls are one of the most unique gemstones is that they are created in a very one-of-a-kind fashion. Marine oysters and mussels make pearls as a natural defense against foreign invaders. Essentially, their shells secrete layers of aragonite and conchiolin (materials that make up their shell) which combine to form a pearl.
History of Pearls As Status Symbols
Pearls began as presents gifted to Chinese royalty as early as 2300 BC, and for a long time, they were considered the ultimate status symptom. It’s believed that Julius Caesar once passed a law prohibiting anyone from wearing them unless they were in the ruling class.
Over time, these continued to be worn by royalty in different generations, but perhaps none as passionately as the English royals between the 1480s and the early 1600s. Tudor England earned the nickname “the Pearl Age” due to their obsession with this gemstone.
Where Do Pearls Come From?
Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mollusks like oysters, clams, or mussels. Saltwater pearls are even rarer than the freshwater kind. The saltwater variation is much larger and harder to find, with saltwater oysters producing only one in their lifetime.
Inside a mollusk, pearls are a natural defense against an irritant, like parasites, that can enter their shell or damage their super fragile bodies. Pearls are a combination of aragonite and conchiolin, which are materials that also make up the shell of these organisms.
These are secreted from the shell over time and then encased in a material called nacre (mother-of-pearl) that encases any irritants and protects the mollusk.
When pearls are cultivated for commercial use, an irritant is manually inserted into the mollusk to promote the production of the pearl. So when you’re wearing a real pearl, it’s essentially a bacteria that could have otherwise killed a mollusk but was otherwise enshrouded and protected.
Some pearls can be very unique and especially precious depending on what type of irritant was engulfed within the shell.
How Are Pearls Turned Into Jewelry?
How do they actually get the pearls into pieces of jewelry? First, it’s a waiting game. It can take up to two years for a pearl to form (hence why they’re so expensive). And removal is not easy. A harvester must open the oyster super gently and use surgical tools to carefully remove the pearl without damaging it.
Additionally, they need to ethically source the pearl by making sure they do not harm the oyster itself. This also allows for the pearl to possibly create another pearl in the future.
Once the pearl is removed, it must undergo a five-step process: finishing, sorting, drilling, matching, and threading.
In the finishing process, the pearls are cleaned with a solution that removes unwanted residue and enhances their shine. Next, they are sorted by qualities like their size, luster, appearance, and shape — which all determine the pearl’s value.
From there, they are drilled on either side to allow for the silk thread to be woven through the pearl pieces in a bracelet or a necklace. This strand of pearls is completed by matching pearls to those with similar size, hue, and shape (which is the most time-consuming process). Lastly, they are placed onto temporary strands before being sold to jewelers.
Pearls are incorporated into pieces of jewelry in several different ways, like adding them to pendants or using them as studs or hoop earrings instead. Regardless, the process is similar, no matter what.
How Are Artificial Pearls Made?
Imitation pearls are a more affordable way to get your hands on a piece that looks just like pearl jewelry without the super high prices associated. Imitation pearls can be made with a mixture of varnish and fish scales or flakes of the mineral mica. Imitation pieces accomplish the same essence as a real pearl that no one would ever be able to know the difference.
Why Are People Wearing Pearls Today?
From the 1905s to somewhat recently, pearls were mostly reserved for women because of their poised, finessed appearance. So what spurred a male movement?
Answer: Male celebrities have begun wearing more traditionally female clothing as a way of breaking down gender barriers. In fact, men are wearing pearls now just as much as women. Current fashion trends feature men wearing pearl bracelets and pearl necklaces.
From the runways to the Grammys, household names like A$AP Rocky, Harry Styles, Pharrell, Gucci Mane, and Tyler the Creator. These are only some other notable names that have made women’s clothing a part of their brand.
You can now see many male models flaunting new pearl pendants and earrings at the MET Gala, New York Fashion Week, and other high-profile events.
Throwback to the Classics (but With Edge)
Here’s the thing: Men aren’t just wearing the classic pearl strand you might’ve seen your grandma or great aunt wearing in old pictures. The modern pearl necklace is significantly different, often incorporating diamonds or incorporating pearls alongside a golden chain.
There might even be a psychological reason as far as why pearls came back into style in recent years. Pearls saw a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts think that the fear of the pandemic caused individuals to recede back to a classic era of timelessness when pearls were more popular. In a way, they might represent strength.
Pearls now have a bit more of an edge, with jewelers experimenting with new styles, colors, hues, textures, and variations of the classic pearl. Now, you can essentially find pearls that match any style for any person.
The bottom line is that you don’t really need a reason to wear any type of jewelry. However, if there were to be a time to start throwing on pearl necklaces or pearl bracelets, now is a better time than any.
What Do Pearls Symbolize?
Jewelry can be symbolic in nature, but you never need to wear pearls purely based on their symbolic nature. Feel free to wear jewelry because you like how it looks without any sort of underlying motive.
Though, if you like when your pieces have sentimentality beneath them, pearls will be your go-to choice. For one, pearls represent the birthstone for the month of June. So if you’re a Gemini, wearing pearls can make you feel more connected to your astrological sign.
Pearls have also been shown to represent things like wisdom, protection, serenity, innocence, enlightenment, and longevity. Some even say that pearls can be associated with good luck, so wearing a pearl necklace might bring you some good fortune.
So … how can you get your hands on some pearls and wear them properly as a guy?
How Can Men Wear Pearls?
Your personal style is unique to you, and we’ll respect it no matter what. But if you want to fit in with the trends, there are some things to consider.
For starters, the pearl necklaces most men wear are a variation of the norm. These pieces contain a rougher, rowdier flair that makes them seem more masculine. The type of jewelry that men wear is a bit different. For example, Hollywood socialites have been seen wearing a pearl choker rather than the traditional necklace to add a grunge feel to the previously pristine stone.
Modern styling includes incorporating designs like spikes between each gem or pairing each pearl alongside a golden or stainless steel band to give the piece more of a “male” edge, like the Diamond Pearl Chain 18k Gold or Pearl Chain with Diamond Crosses.
Many men are also experimenting with different colors and styles of pearls outside of the traditional variations. Black pearls, gray pearls, or even brightly colored pearls have been popular choices to help put pearls back into modern fashion trends.
Some men also opt to wear more traditional pearls alongside more male-centric jewelry. For instance, some men might wear a pearl necklace and stack a gold chain over top. It gives it that masculine look while still maintaining the poise and essence of cultured pearls.
The bottom line is that men’s fashion is forever changing, so the best course of action is to try out a number of styles to discover which one works for you. If you need inspiration from some of the best, Harry Styles and A$AP Rocky are two names to work off of.
How Expensive Are Pearls?
One of the major barriers holding people back from wearing pearl jewelry in the first place is its price. Pearls can be expensive because it’s hard to find and harvest them. However, there are ways to make it affordable.
For one, a string of pearls is going to be a lot more expensive than just a single pearl earring. If price is an issue, start off subtly by getting a smaller pearl piece until you save enough money to be a bit bolder.
Additionally, the size and color quality can affect the price of a pearl. Naturally, a larger pearl will run more than a small pearl. And a pristine white pearl will run a higher price tag than one with a more yellowish tint.
Tahitian pearls are also an exotic variation of pearls that are dark in color, and these can cost as high as $25,000 each. A wild pearl is also going to cost more than a cultured pearl, and pearls sourced from the South Sea are considered the rarest, meaning they’ll hit you with the highest cost.
What exactly makes them so expensive? Many pearls can take up to five years to fully develop. This long cultivation process is usually what makes certain pearls, like South Sea pearls, a lot more expensive. Other variations, like common freshwater oysters, might only take around three months and create dozens of pearls. The price is usually relative to the time and effort it takes to farm.
Where To Find Pearls Priced Fairly
Don’t let price act as a barrier between you and the finest luxe jewelry. 6 Ice is the finest purveyor of high-quality hip-hop jewelry at prices you can achieve. Our wide collection of pearl products can match any style and price with ease.
And you can have full faith in your products because each one is backed by our lifetime guarantee. So if your piece breaks due to normal wear and tear, we’ll work with you to make things right. Check out our full catalog of pearl jewelry today and get started on the best version of yourself.
How To Take Care of Pearls
To make your pearls last longer, take them off before sweating excessively going in any body of water. Additionally, be sure to take them off at night, as the chemicals on your body can interact with the jewelry and affect its color or tarnish. This goes for most types of jewelry outside of pearls as well.
How To Clean Pearls
If you’re used to wearing gold chains and pendants all the time, then you’re used to cleaning your jewelry regularly. However, the way you need to maintain pearl jewelry is a little bit different in comparison.
The biggest thing to remember here is you neverwant to submerge your pearls in water, as it will weaken the thread holding the pieces together. Instead, you’ll want to mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap, use a soft cleaning cloth, and wipe the pearls with the solution.
Note that you only want to do this when the pearls are visibly dirty. Pearls do not need the same type of upkeep as gold and silver pieces, as frequent abrasion to a pearl can wear away its natural colors.
Men and pearls were once polar opposites, but thanks to advancements in gender breakdown and celebrity influence, men can (and should) wear pearl jewelry in order to make a statement. Pearls are some of the most extravagant and respected pieces out there, and wearing them frequently can seriously turn some heads.
Male pearl jewelry is a little more masculine in comparison to traditional pearl jewelry, often coinciding with diamonds, gold, or other metals to contrast its typical essence. But no matter how you choose to wear them, they’re sure to look great.
The only thing that matters most is where you get your pearls from, and you want to make sure you trust the jeweler who’s giving you these precious stones. 6 Ice has a lifetime guarantee on our wide selection of pieces, so you can have full confidence in the quality of your pearl necklace from the moment you click buy.
Take a look at the collection of our latest drops today and expand your wardrobe in style.