With an increasing number of young people showing an interest in pearl jewellery, contemporary styles are in high demand. Following on from the pearls and beads trend, this year, pearls paired with coloured gemstones have been cropping up all over the place, including designer runways and celebrity-filled red carpets.
Moreover, 7 out of 10 winning jewellery designs at the Cultured Pearl Association of America’s annual competition, in which our designer Chrissie Douglas won twice, boasted this unique combination in various forms. But which gemstone colours and pearl tones work best together? Let’s take a look.
Choosing the perfect colour combination
The first thing to consider when combining pearls and coloured gemstones is the colour! There are typically two ways to approach this. One is to opt for complementary shades that are located opposite one another on the colour wheel. For example, green and red or blue and green. These contrasting shades work surprisingly well together and offer a bold yet balanced look.
Alternatively, you may prefer analogous hues. These are colours which sit side by side on the colour wheel. For instance, red, orange, and yellow, or the many different shades of blue and green. Together, these familial colours provide a harmonious finish. Pastel tones are a good example of this.
Warm vs cool gemstone colours
Another factor to consider is the warmth or coolness of both the gemstone colour and pearl overtones. Warm colours include earthy browns, oranges, sunshine yellows, creamy whites, golds and fuchsia pinks. As such, peridot, citrine, agate and certain tourmalines are all classed as warm semi-precious stone colours.
Meanwhile, silvers, greys, crisp whites, pastel pinks, pale greens and icy blues are cooler. With that in mind, aquamarine, sapphire, rose quartz and amethyst are all cool coloured gemstones. Find the best colours for your skin tone on our blog.
Suggested pearl and gemstone jewellery pairings
For black pearls…
Modern black pearl bracelets featuring vivid copper hued pearls, as well as green-toned Tahitian pearl pendants with green tsavorites are guaranteed to pop. The same can also be said for black pearl necklaces with fuchsia pink tourmalines and purple amethysts. The darker shade contrasts with the bold hue to provide a balanced look. Alternatively, black pearl earrings with contrasting white pearl drops look classic yet sleek, and will complement a variety of outfits due to their colourless finish.
For white pearls…
If traditional white pearls don’t quite fit your style, why not incorporate coloured gemstones for a contemporary twist? This freshwater pearl and amber necklace feels fun and relaxed, while white pearl necklaces incorporating cool blue apatite are undeniably chic. Or, if you prefer simpler looks, crisp white pearl and diamond earrings with silvery surrounds are a modern staple. The silky pearl lustre balances the brilliant sparkle of the diamonds for an exceedingly elegant combination.
For pink pearls…
Freshwater pink pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets are typically pastel toned. As such, they work beautifully with other soft hues, like white and grey. Our stunning 3-tone pearl chain necklace is a perfect example of this, with several shimmering beads adding extra texture to the design. Likewise, muted pinks also complement other gemstone colours, including rich jewel tones, as demonstrated in this pink pearl bracelet with amethyst and garnet accents.
For grey pearls…
Grey offers the perfect balance between inky black and bright white. Grey is also an achromatic shade, so it goes with everything, and the possibilities really are endless. Grey pearl earrings with neutral white or blush pink pearls are a popular pairing. As are silver Tahitian pearls with blue or green sapphires. If you want to spice up a monochromatic outfit, a more vibrant design will work well. For instance, our abstract grey pearl bracelet with a mix of amethyst, citrine, peridot and rose quartz.
For golden pearls…
South Sea pearl jewellery is innately luxurious and many designs make beautiful standalone pieces. But that’s not to say you can’t pair them with complementary precious stone colours. Golden pearl necklaces, for example, work wonderfully with other warm tones like fiery amber or the brown, green and yellow tourmalines found in our tasselled “happy” necklace. On the other hand, black and gold is a timeless combination for pearl earrings that shows no sign of going out of style.
Key conclusions when pairing pearls and gems
- If in doubt, black, white and grey pearls will work with all gemstone colours and any complexion. Similarly, colourless gemstones like translucent rock crystal and clear diamonds can be matched with any shade of pearl.
- Don’t be tempted to wear multiple necklaces in order to replicate this look, as the surface of a pearl is softer than most semi-precious stones and can be easily scratched. Instead, opt for specially designed pearl and gemstone jewellery with protective spacers built into the design.
- While we’ve outlined several guidelines in this post, there is ultimately no right or wrong way to combine coloured gemstones with pearls. Pick whatever combination appeals to you most – whether that’s opting for a design that incorporates your favourite colour, your birthstone or one that simply catches your eye. After all, your jewellery should bring you joy and make you feel great when you wear it, rather than just abiding by the “rules”!
Browse coloured gemstone designs at Coleman Douglas Pearls
With over thirty years’ experience, our expert team can hand craft an array of gorgeous pearl necklaces, earrings and more - featuring coloured gemstones. This includes best-selling pieces that we create again and again, alongside bespoke designs that are custom-made based on your individual requirements. Browse our full jewellery range online or contact us to learn more about our bespoke service.