pearl necklaces
Image: Mizuki

Show-stopping pearl necklaces, from vintage classics to statement strings

26 Jan 2024 | |By Kari Colmans

Pearl necklaces have found a new lease of life among younger generations – and there's plenty of choice when it comes to finding your perfect piece

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While the pearl necklace has been a jewellery box staple for as long as women have accessorised, there’s a fine line between your granny’s dusty old beads and the carefully crafted masterpieces we’re all coveting this season.

Whether you’re channelling a timeless Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a modern-day Coco Chanel, or something a little more avant-garde, there’s a pearl necklace out there for every occasion. From delicate antique treasures to chunky, abstract pieces; freshwater orbs to fun faux beads; they’re a timeless, cross-generational investment you won’t regret.

We can’t get enough of the archive pieces from the likes of Chanel and Dior, courtesy of treasure trove keeper Susan Caplan Vintage, as well as more modern shapes from Mikimoto and Jil Sander. Teamed with an LBD for ultimate Holly Golightly appeal, or more simply with a white tee and jeans for a laid-back contemporary look, designer Sophie Bille Brahe deserves the pearly queen crown when it comes to her real freshwater creations: with extra bow detailing and intricate clasps, each is more beautiful than the last. Gucci goes bold with a faux triple row, as well as some beautiful fine jewellery pieces, while Simone Rocha’s entry-level Daisy necklace is sure to elevate any day or night look.

Here are the finest pearl necklaces to covet now.

1980s vintage Chanel necklace

Coco Chanel was the first designer to introduce faux pearls into her iconic collections and the trend is still going strong. The gold-plated curb chain, a Chanel icon, is embellished with faux baroque pearls. Wear with CC logo stud earrings for a versatile look that’s très chic.

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Sophie Bille Brahe Peggy Rosette pearl necklace

We totally fell for the Peggy Rosette when we saw the pretty, loosely tied bow feature – an extra feminine touch to an already delicate piece. Cast in 14-karat yellow gold, it’s strung with lustrous freshwater pearls in ascending sizes and is best worn with a strappy LBD.

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Mizuki diamond, pearl and 14-karat gold necklace

Taken from the brand’s enchanting Sea of Beauty collection, this piece has been created to celebrate natural coastal formations. Strung using delicate freshwater pearls and cinched in with a simple slider, adorned with round-cut, claw-set diamonds totalling 0.85ct, it is pure elegance.

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1980s Christian Dior faux pearl necklace

Always classic and oh-so-feminine, this 80’s Dior piece ticks multiple fashion credential boxes when it comes to timeless jewellery. The gold-plated flat weave necklace features a luminous faux pearl teardrop with round-cut clear Swarovski crystal embellishment in a classic deco style. J’adore!

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Simone Rocha daisy faux pearl necklace

This ornamental costume collar is strung with faux pearls, half arranged to resemble delicate blooms, and half graduating subtly in size (which is where it gets its Daisy title). Great over a faded grey tee and jeans, with a blazer for good measure, it’s an instant outfit lifter – and bank account pleaser.

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Dinny Hall Shuga 14k gold, diamond and pearl pendant

A subtle nod to the trend, as opposed to going full throttle, this understated and elegant pendant can be worn every day and never taken off. Named Shuga, the collection is sweet, delicate, and shimmering, as evidenced by the fine chain and single diamond that catches the light.

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Valentino Garavani VLOGO signature pearl necklace

This elegant piece from Valentino Garavani is both classic and timeless. The layered necklace is strung with pearls in varying sizes and finished with a logo clasp studded with Swarovski crystals for a modern, statement twist. Team it with something simple and let your clavicle do the talking.

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Jil Sander gold-tone and pearl necklace

A total break from the traditional pearl set, this gold-tone necklace is looped with a delightful mix of chunky, irregular, freshwater, and baroque pearls. This abstract, statement piece also comes with matching earrings to achieve that full ‘queen of the sea’ look.

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1980s Christian Dior faux pearl collar necklace

The Dior archives are just too plentiful not to explore when it comes to finding the ultimate pearl necklace. Another Susan Caplan find, this deco-style gold-plated collar necklace is embellished with an oval luminous faux pearl and round-cut clear Swarovski crystals making for a great statement piece.

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Mikimoto pearl chain necklace

For ultimate regal feels, this ornate 18-karat yellow gold necklace is strung with lustrous Akoya cultured pearls which have been worn by royalty for generations. Known for its outstanding craftsmanship and innovation when it comes to the gems, the brand was the first to culture them over a century ago.

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