Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pearls! A Vintage Girl's Must Have!

Here is a pic of me in my kitchen. I am wearing my pearls with a simple black tee I got at Wal-Mart!

Pearls. Whether they are glass, man-made, cultured, or real, pearls are timeless and a must have for any vintage girl! Pearls make the most casual outfit look polished and chic. Adding a pearl necklace to simple white tee and a pair of high-wasted sailor pants gives your look an "instant upgrade!" Pearls come in many lengths. There is the 16 inch choker strand, the 18 inch princess length, the 32 inch opera length, and the 60 inch rope. Depending on the time of day and what clothing you are wearing, pearls are always appropriate!

The 16 to 18 length are good for simple house dresses and most daytime wear. This length invokes a sense of casual elegance. I often wear my 16 length pearls for the office and for running errands during the day.

The longer lengths are good for evening and even some office attire. It all depends what you wear with it. For example, I have a Majorica 60 inch rope strand that I recently got for my 35th birthday. I can double the strand and create a opera length look that goes wonderful with boatneck style dresses and tops and most cocktail wear. If I triple the strand, I have a 18-20 inch, three strand necklace that pairs well with evening attire and if I wear a simple black suit with a camisole underneath, I am ready for the office. Like most accessories, wearing pearls will depend on your clothing.

Another thing to consider when it comes to pearls is how much you are willing to spend and how often you will be wearing them. I think buying good quality, man-made pearls like Majorica or Carolee are a good choice. Majorica is not expensive like the famous cultured Mikimoto pearls, but it is not cheap either. For example, a 16-inch strand will often cost anywhere between $185.00 to $200.00. The price also depends on the millimeter or "mm" of the individual pearl size. In my opinion, the best pearl size is 8 mm. This is the classic size that is not too small nor too big. Anything over 12-14mm can look too bulky ala "Wilma Flintstone."

As for Mikimoto pearls, unless "money is not object" for you, a 7mm, 16-inch strand will cost about $2,300.00 USD! Take the price for a 32-inch strand and you will pay about $6,000.00 USD! The Mikimoto quality is legendary but their prices are infamously sky-high! I would love to have their pearls but I cannot justify spending that kind of money. So, what is a vintage gal to do?

There are a lot of good imitation, ie "man made" pearls out there. Carolee is a great brand that carries many styles of pearls and their stock can be found at most department stores. These pearls will cost about $55.00 to $200.00 USD. An 18-inch strand made with 8mm pearls will cost about $65.00 USD and a triple strand will cost about $195.00 USD. Carolee offers a lifetime guarantee as well.

The only pearls I do not recommend are the plastic ones or pearls that are painted glass. The plastic type looks cheap and the painted variety will eventually flake and peel.

When it comes to caring for your pearls (man made or not), here are some basic rules:

Do not wash your pearls in jewelry cleaner! EVER! Most soap-based cleansers will destroy pearls. If you need to clean your necklace, simply wipe with a soft cloth and when you are not wearing them, keep pearls safely stored in a jewelry pouch.

Do not wear your pearls when you are applying hairspray or spray perfume! These sprays WILL ruin the pearls' luster and finish! Moreover, it is best to wait 30 minutes after putting on perfume before wearing your pearls.

In conclusion, a vintage girl can never go wrong when it comes to wearing a classic, white pearl necklace! Wear them with elegance and be sure to properly care for them! You will be glamorous for many years to come!

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