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Jewelry and Gender - Pearls

Society may have made up rules about fashion, but most people who love fashion know that not all those rules are meant to be followed! The notion that “dresses are only for girls,” “the color blue is just for boys,” and so forth are simply not set in stone for fashion lovers. 

Thankfully, the hard lines are blurring and people are feeling more freedom to express themselves. One example of this is in jewelry, with men wearing pearls,though it’s not really new.

Before I go on, I must say that I was a kid of the 80s and that was a decade where gender lines were blurred or thrown out the window. I’m thrilled to see that playful freedom return to fashion.

Okay, so pearls on men is nothing new! The Mughal Empire of South Asia, founded in 1526, placed great emphasis on pearls. The longest strands of pearls were reserved for the emperor and his sons.

In the first half of the 1500s, during Henry the VIII’s reign, he wore clothes embroidered with pearls. 

Then there is mother of pearl, which is the beautiful lining of a mollusk shell. That lining is there to protect the mollusk from parasites and foreign irritants. This lining is called nacre, and is the same material that makes pearls iridescent. We see mother of pearl inlaid in belt buckles and button snaps on western shirts; both of which fit our society’s definition of masculine.

So pearls aren’t new to men’s fashion, but it has a new feel, a fresh take perhaps? From Broadway stars, to rap stars, to baseball stars, we are seeing pearls! It may be a single large pearl earring like Harry Styles or a strand of large pearls like Joc Pederson wore in the 2021 World Series.

Please go out there and have fun and be creative with those pearl accessories!
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