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Men in Pearls – celebrating the return of this classic gem to men’s accessories

As June is the month of Father’s Day around the world we thought it was a great chance to celebrate the relationship between men and pearls.  Pearls have been long associated with women, perhaps you think of Coco Chanel with her strands of pearls or Audrey Hepburn with her multi-strand pearl necklace – so many women through time have adorned themselves with pearls. 

In history we did see the male European monarchs and the aristocracy wearing a pearl or two, the maharajas of India never shied away from piles of pearls, but then as time went on, pearls seemed to fall out of favour among men. In recent years we have certainly seen a rise in pearls as a male accessory and it seems to be a trend that is really sticking around.

Pearls on men started appearing on our catwalks in 2016 when Pharrell Williams modelled pearl strings for Chanel, but over the last couple of years we’ve seen men wearing pearls becoming increasingly popular. In 2019 we saw a number of high-profile male celebrities wearing pearls, including the likes of A$AP Rocky and Harry Styles. 

Harry’s single pearl earring at the Met Gala made us think that perhaps he was inspired by a similar look worn by Sir Walter Raleigh and King Charles I. 

We then saw the pearl on men pop up in fashion shows for Ryan Roche, Dior and Gucci where we saw shifting tides of what it means to dress ‘like a man’. The likes of Shawn Mendes, Machine Gun Kelly and the Jonas Brothers are now all regularly reaching for the pearls when dressing for a big event.

The mixture of catwalk, celebrity and stylish male individuals combined with fashion moving towards genderless and fluid styles is where the pearl is emerging as a staple jewellery accessory for men. 

It used to be the pearl was seen as the more traditional feminine mode of dress, and if worn by men it was a sign of androgyny or queer identity, for example at one time Elton John was the only icon for men and pearls. Old-fashioned narratives of who a man has to be to wear pearls is changing and men are totally owning the pearls they want to wear.

Designers like Kim Jones at Dior Men and Alessandro Michele at Gucci are always keen to push the boundaries on what men wear – here pearls for men are definitely having a renaissance. 

Mikimoto is leading in the movement for genderless pearl jewellery, they have colaborated with Comme des Garçons for collections that combine their love of the pearl with edgy fashion.

Pearls are incredibly versatile as jewellery for men – they can be luxuriant, minimalist or statement-making, and they offer so much character. 

Pearls give an instant sense of occasion, no matter how understated. Harry Styles often adopts a preppy looking sweater with a 1-strand white pearl necklace, which is being replicated by lots of young men as a really elegant male look. The gold chain is finally being switched for the pearl necklace and we love it!

Here at The Real Pearl Co. we are very excited about the resurgence of men wearing pearls. If you or a man you know is keen to add pearls to their accessories collection, why not explore our pearl jewellery collection.