What’s It Worth? Real Men Like Pearls, Too

“I had never given much thought to a pearl belonging to a gender,” he observes at one point. “If I had to fight in a war I’d have to take off my pearls, so obviously I was for world peace all round,” says Saul Adler in the 2019 book, The Man Who Saw Everything.

Was this book the start of the trend? Not really. King Charles I sported them proudly in the 1600s, wearing “natural pearls, rare and quite appealing.” After a hundred years or so they became staunchly feminine, peaking in the mid-century ‘little black dress’ era and continuing in some circles to the 1990s, with Mikimoto leading the way with their fine cultured pearls. In the ’90s, interest waned a little with the pearl strand being a seldom worn, but nevertheless important part of a woman’s jewelry wardrobe. Resale value plummeted. Enter hip-hop culture. Urban attitude, going against the grain, poking a finger in the eye of established fashion norms seems to have always led the way in fashion.

Men are now wearing pearl necklaces. Yes, it started with hip-hop influencers but has now spread to pop stars like Harry Styles, Jaden Smith, Elton John, the Jonas Brothers, Billy Porter, Shawn Mendes and Pharrell Williams, and is starting to show up in retail stores and in offices, on hoodies and with three-piece suits.

As to value? The bigger the better. Ten millimeter Akoya cultured pearls are hot now. Eight to nine millimeter are mildly on fire. Four to six millimeter cultured are still tepid, but bring them in.
Look out for platinum or old mine-cut diamond clasps. This could be a sign of rarity. “Natural” pearls (unlike Mikimoto’s, which are cultured by putting a round non-pearl bead inside a mollusk), which are all nacre instead of nacre surrounding a bead, can be particularly valuable. “A gold chain says ‘mundane,’ but a rope of prim pearls on a man? That’s beguiling.” – Fashion editor, Wall Street Journal.

“A gold chain says ‘mundane,’ but a rope of prim pearls on a man? That’s beguiling.” – Fashion editor, Wall Street Journal. Above, our GIA graduate humorously models some pearls. We are always buying antique pearls … preferably signed Mikimoto, or older pearls with platinum or diamond clasps.

So. Sell us some pearls. Katrina Hess is a GIA Pearl Certificate holder and we have GIA Graduates at both stores! Come see us.

OLD NORTHEAST JEWELERS.

FINE JEWELRY & WATCHES. BUYING & SELLING SINCE 1984.

St. Petersburg: 1131 4th St. N. 727.898.4377.

Tampa: Hyde Park Village. 1607 W. Swann Ave. 813.875.3935.

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