Adored by screen legends the likes of Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, pearls have long been associated with femininity and classiness. While they possess none of the sparkling opulence that diamonds carry, there’s just something about a simple string of pearls that effortlessly injects sophistication into any ensemble.

Case in point: The gorgeous five-strand pearl necklace spotted on Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes of Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961). Paired with the actress’ black dress and chic updo, the necklace remains one of Hollywood’s most iconic jewels till today.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Credit: Limogés Jewelry)

Typically found within oysters, natural pearls are formed when an irritant such as a parasite enters the shell, leading the latter to produce nacre, a secretion that covers the irritant. More layers are added until the intruding object is removed from the inner part of the oyster. In the process, a pearl is created. Cultured pearls are made in a similar way, with farmers deliberately implanting the foreign object inside the shell. While they are commonly white or cream coloured, pearls may also come in other hues such as grey, brown, silver or black, depending on the nacre.

Here are five pearl jewels that we can’t help but covet. Beautiful and versatile, they will easily add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

(Main photo: Timeless Pearl; Featured photo: Mikimoto)

Ghianda set by Buccellati

Comprising a necklace and earrings, this showstopping set features eleven grey pearls fringed by intricate white gold leaves festooned with rose-cut diamonds. The jewels are also adorned with splashes of yellow gold for an edgy twist.

Colour Treasures "Extravaganza" earrings by Bulgari

Pearls and coloured gemstones come together in perfect harmony, in this lovely pair of white gold earrings. The jewels are bedecked with two aquamarines (8.17 carats), which are attached to a dangling assortment of rubellites (10.73 carats), tanzanites (18.05 carats), round brilliant-cut diamonds (1.01 carats) and four Akoya white cultured pearls.

Camélia Jewellery Watch by Chanel

This opulent secret watch showcases chains of cultured pearls and glittering diamonds, which culminate in a cluster of dainty camellia bud motifs encrusted with more diamonds. Its dial is concealed underneath one of the camellia buds.

Stream necklace by Mikimoto

Presented at Baselworld 2015, this lavish harness-like necklace comprises strings of 3,506 Akoya pearls fastened by an 18k white gold clasp mounted with 22.23 carats of diamonds. The necklace was recently displayed at Mikimoto’s The Pearl Necklace book launch at NCO Club at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach.

Ziegfeld pearl ring by Tiffany & Co

Inspired by the Jazz Age and Roaring Twenties, this statement ring features a black onyx centre stone surrounded by small freshwater cultured pearls. The ring is fashioned in sterling silver, and is based on an archival design from the 1920s.

Sara Yap
Deputy Director, Digital Operations (Asia)
Sara Yap is the Deputy Director of Digital Operations at BurdaLuxury, and a contributing writer to Lifestyle Asia’s dining and jewellery beats. When she’s not on the lookout for exciting new restaurants or bejewelled trinkets, she’s probably buried in a riveting read, or reminiscing the good ol’ days with her favourite playlist of ’90s boyband hits.