Pearls and diamonds are two of the most valuable and sought-after gemstones in the world. Up until the late 1800s, both were rare finds and largely reserved for royalty and nobility. However, as diamonds became easier to mine and scientists developed new ways to culture pearls, both gemstones shot to fame in the early 20th century.
Since then, designs have been adapted and modernised, but pearls and diamonds remain jewellery box staples. In fact, diamonds are now the most popular gemstone for engagement rings and pearls have become a huge catwalk trend for 2021!
But can you wear pearls and diamonds together? Read on to learn more about the differences between pearls and diamonds and how to combine these two gemstones in your jewellery for a showstopping look.
Pearls vs. diamonds
In their natural form, pearls and diamonds are complete opposites. Pearls are a softer gemstone, formed inside living molluscs (oysters or mussels) in either fresh water or the sea, and each pearl produced is truly unique.
Diamonds, on the other hand, are more robust and are formed below the Earth’s surface when carbon crystallises due to the heat and pressure. The process takes billions of years and once formed, the rough diamonds are mined, cut and polished.
They’re also very different in appearance. Cultured pearls are soft shaped and lustrous, while diamonds are transparent and more geometric. However, they both share the ability to refract light and enhance radiance when worn as jewellery.
A pearl’s ability to do this is down to its nacre. Nacre is made of calcium carbonate crystals which form thin, translucent layers around the pearl to give it its distinctive lustre. Meanwhile, diamonds are cut to create facets for the light to bounce off. Facets act as mirrors or prisms, and the more a stone has, the greater the sparkle.
Can you wear diamonds and pearls together?
Modelled by the likes of Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy in the 1950s, pearl and diamond jewellery has proved a hit with modern-day celebrities too. Both Ariana Grande and Emma Stone were spotted wearing pearl and diamond engagement rings, while Celine Dion has featured the combination in her rings and earrings several times.
So, if you’re wondering whether you can you wear pearls and diamonds together, the answer is yes. The secret behind why this dazzling combination works so well is that the simple elegance of the pearl complements the glamorous diamond and vice versa.
Essentially, pearls offer a softer look that helps to tone down the flashiness of diamonds, while the crisp, clear sparkle of diamonds can make classic pearls feel more contemporary. However, as these two gemstones are very different, there are a few things to consider when pairing them…
Tips for combining pearls and diamonds
Avoid competing gemstones
Though pearl and diamond jewellery is often seen as a luxury combination, it’s easy to overdo it. In essence, you want to avoid the two gemstones competing, as this will create a chaotic look that lacks elegance. Because either gemstone can be the star of the show in its own right, you should choose one to be the focus.
For example, creamy pearl earrings set in miniature diamond surroundings will add sparkle to your outfit, without being overpowering. Or, if you choose a statement necklace that features one of the stones, pair it with subtle stud earrings in the opposite material.
Consider your frame & skin tone
As with other jewellery styles, it’s important to consider your build and skin tone when incorporating bold gemstones into your look. Dainty pearl drop earrings with diamond encrusted stems work well on smaller frames and still light up your face. Taller frames, on the other hand, allow for larger jewellery and more dramatic looks.
When it comes to skin tone, you should remember that white diamonds will enhance a pearl’s natural colour and shine, so choosing a complementary shade is vital. Soft, rosy tones work well on pale skin, while cool, blue hues suit olive skin tones best.
Tip: emphasise the jewellery’s glow against your skin by styling your hair in an up-do!
Be mindful of differing durability
One of the key things to remember, when wearing pearls and diamonds together, is that they have different hardness levels. If you choose a specially designed piece which combines both gemstones, there’s nothing to worry about. However, when pairing separate items you need to be careful.
As diamonds are much harder than pearls, they can scratch the nacre and damage them permanently. Because of that, you should avoid layering separate necklaces or bracelets that are made up of these two contrasting types of gemstones.
Consider the occasion
As both pearls and diamonds are dazzling gems in their own right, their combination can be truly remarkable.
Statement necklaces and pearl and diamond drop earrings are perfect for black tie dinners and cocktail parties. They’re also popular with brides at weddings. For a more casual look, pearl pendants and simple stud earrings work well.
Tip: yellow gold styles have a more classic, vintage feel, while white gold and sterling silver pieces feel more modern.
Our pearl and diamond jewellery ranges
At Coleman Douglas Pearls, we provide an array of stunning pearl and diamond pendants and sparkly earrings in a variety of colours. Suspended from delicate chains, you can choose from decadent South Sea pearls, iridescent Tahitian designs or styles that incorporate semi-precious stones like moonstone and tourmaline for a dash of colour.
Complete your outfit by pairing your exquisite pendant with a set of diamond-trimmed earrings, to create a cohesive look for the evening. From studs to hoops and drop earrings too, we have a pearl and diamond jewellery design for every occasion.