Cultured Pearls and Diamonds: Not Your Grandmother’s Pearls

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Marilyn Monroe may have announced that diamonds are a girl’s best friend – and that point still stands nearly half a century later – but what’s a diamond’s best friend? Pearls, of course! A dreamy, gratifying combination, the two go together like milk and honey. Or even better, Champagne and caviar.

Especially when the pearls are not perfectly round and set on a typical strand – read prissy and trite, unless they are pumped up with some major personal style. No, the new breed is cultured freshwater pearls in bumpy, lumpy, asymmetrical shapes for an earthier feel. And nothing sets off intricate pave diamonds better.

Ross Simons boasts a thrilling collection of cultured pearl and diamond shake-ups, for thrilling discounts, no less. A necklace of peach pearls ( $695 from $1,395: suggested retail of $2,695) gets delightfully thrown off by a splash of pave natural diamonds, while the black Tahitian pearl bracelet ($2,625 from $3,500), set off with three sparkling beads, looks like it was dug out of a magical sea. The diamond beads on the drop earrings ($1,871.25 from $2,495) look as shapely and organic as the pearls themselves, but the most exciting pieces might be the rings: a Biwa pearl ($975 from $1,795; suggested retail of $2,650) surrounded by a menacing yet cute serpent and a wildly shaped Baroque pearl ($1,695 from $5,995; suggested retail of $4,300) encased in an abstract serpentine design. These are pearls for the new generation of glamour girls.

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