How to wear pearls in 2016

Introducing the designers whose avant-garde designs are setting the trends in pearl jewellery for the year ahead.

Contemporary pearl jewellery Kova Couture blue spinel cocktail ring

The notion of the modern pearl is a concept that has been doing well in recent years, but how contemporary are you willing to go? For those with a taste for the avant garde, there is some amazing pearl jewellery out there for 2016 that is pushing boundaries ever further. 

Calendis half-hoop pearl earrings
Calendis freshwater pearl front-back earrings in yellow gold by Sammie Jo Coxon (£2,420).

Central Saint Martins graduate Sammie Jo Coxon, who set up her eponymous jewellery brand in January, has already amassed a collection of strikingly contemporary pearl jewellery. She believes “pearl jewellery is at the forefront of current trends” and so has been finding new ways to present this lustrous gem, such as lining her Calendis earrings, which protrude in a half hoop from the back of the lobe, with freshwater pearls. “These earrings offer an exceptionally dramatic take on the classic pearl studs,” she says.

During Paris Couture Week in July, another emerging jewellery designer Katie Kovalenko – who goes by the moniker K Kova – presented the first collection of haute jewels from her one-year-old brand Kova. The collection comprised six architectural gold cocktail rings that deliver serious volume but are almost weightless, an engineering feat that took Kova 18 months to perfect. Each is designed around specially chosen coloured gemstones, and Kovalenko has chosen to incorporate pearls into half of these trendsetting rings.

Masterpieces Prism ring with a South Sea pearl, pink sapphires and diamonds
This Tiffany & Co. Masterpieces collection ring sets a golden pearl alongside two orbs glittering with diamonds and pink sapphires (POA).

Tiffany & Co has also been celebrating pearls in its latest Masterpieces collection of high jewellery, due for release this autumn. The Prism rings within this collection set golden pearls next to orbs decorated with gems like pink sapphires and tsavorites, designed to mimic the brilliance and colour of stained glass.

Bibi van der Velden also plays with the theme of orbs, but takes us on a celestial pearl journey with her Galaxy collection, which dresses up a Tahitian pearl as a Saturnesque planet on a pendant, with chips of diamonds, opal, blue sapphires and tourmaline in orbit. Colette Steckel also uses circular motifs to evoke modernity for her Colette brand with a collection of tight pearl torques and earrings that fan out pearls in a disk, nestling amongst emeralds set in black gold, which creates a futuristic, almost neon effect.

Ruifier Paola spinel and pearl pendant
Ruifier's Paola yellow gold pendant has a pearly white mouth to contrast with its dark spinel eyes (£1,485).

For the emoticon generation, Ruifier has snuck a few pearls into its Visage collection of pendants with precious faces. The Paola yellow gold pendant with a terse mouth of pearly whites almost seems to challenges us with its dark spinel eyes to take a chance on some truly contemporary pearl jewellery – will you accept?  


Support our Work with a Contribution of any Amount

We need your help to keep The Jewellery Editor’s independence so that we can continue to offer quality writing that’s open to everyone around the world.

It means we can give a full and varied picture of the big, wide world of jewellery and watches whether it is on our website or social media channels.

Every contribution is hugely appreciated and key to ensuring our future.

Terms and conditions

Shop this article

Our shopping list