Dressing Up Extreme Casual With A Not-So-Casual Pearl Bracelet

This post is sponsored by The Pearl Source. Thanks guys!


It is time for Privilege to give away a few pearls. As I said, back when, I own more than my fair share; earrings, a necklace, a pin. But in setting up this giveaway, I took my cue from pearls that got away, the 3-strand bracelet I had made from 7MM Mikimotos my father had given me when I turned 25.

Traveling without a jewelry box leads to a fairly odd conjunction of accessories.

A photo posted by Lisa Carnochan (@amidprivilege) on

I lost it in 2013, somewhere between San Francisco and Minneapolis, on the way to one of my husband’s colleagues’ weddings. Sigh. It made me feel elegant, no matter what I wore. So, in discussions with Pearl Source about a review and sponsored post, I asked them for a multi-strand wrist adornment. To provide a proof point for this alleged pearl bracelet versatility, here’s my very casual outfit from dinner Saturday night. Pearl-Source-Giveaway I’m wearing: (all links to original Privilege posts on the goods)










  • Pearl studs with diamond accent









Double-Strand-Pearl-Bracelet-from-Pearl-Source I pushed the limits of extreme casual here. But I’m going to propose that the bracelet — aided by Isabel and the shine on my feet — may have saved me from myself. I believe the clasp is white gold but there’s a chance it’s silver (I’m waiting for the PR firm to confirm, my apologies for the lack of certainty.) EDITED: Yes, it’s white gold:). Pearl-Source-Double-Bracelet-on-Wrist I thought I’d need spacers, those little bars that often link strand. But the bracelet holds its shape really well without. The pearls are just off-round, which I loved. Better than perfect spheres for low-decorum nights. The color is creamy, maybe a little ivory, a little pink or  tan. Different lights bring out different hues. In black and white, you can see how classic they are. And the size. Pearl-Source-Closeup So let’s tell stories, as is our tradition for giveaways. Tell us of your first pearls, alternatively, how you imagine yourself wearing this bracelet. I will draw and announce a winner on Friday, May 15. Giveaway is open to all US readers. My apologies to the rest of the world, I am shipping these to you myself and the freight/duties/bureaucracy for overseas deliveries is abominable. I hope any brands local to your parts of the world are paying attention. I confess to being tempted to keep this, once I saw it, but I breathed deeply and let it go. Pearl on, my friends, pearl on.

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Mary Kay Lyon, you are the winner! Congratulations! And thank you, everyone, for the wonderful stories. Our lives are rich. Mary Kay, I will email you for your shipping details.

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  • My first “pearls” was a single pearl, a pretty Mikimoto in an unusual silver setting. I was really young, but I think my dad knew otherwise I’d be jealous of the strand of pearls he was giving my mom. I still have that pendant, and I still smile every time I wear it.

  • I honestly can’t remember my first pearls but I suspect they were fake. However, my most prized pearl was given to me by my grandfather when I was about 28. He was a keen golfer and wore a tie clasp of a golf club with a little pearl affixed to it for the ball. I still have this little tie clasp and treasure it.

  • My father gave me my first pearl necklace and bracelet, grey pearls, beautiful. I was very young. Fell down and broke the bracelet. Still have the necklace, but that is in pieces also. He gave them to me 50 years ago, when I was 10. Guess I should have let my mom hold on to them!

  • You look adorable – wish you hadn’t gotten rid of the tee shirt. You dress like I do for going out to dinner! The pearl bracelet is beautiful, but not for me, so I hope someone who loves it will enjoy it.

  • My first pearls, my only pearls, were a gift from a patient’s family. She was dying, and her care was highly complicated, and emotionally draining. Because of this, she had a small group of primary nurses assigned to manage her care. I was one of them. She didn’t make it, and wasn’t expected to, but in gratitude for what we did to try to ease her suffering, her husband gave pearl necklaces to all of her caretakers. I still have the necklace. I doubt it was costly, but it came in a nice box with a silk zipped pouch inside. Anyway, it’s special to me because of the emotional connection I had with them, not because of the money he spent. I don’t wear pearls (so there is no need to enter me into the drawing), but I cherish these. Maybe I’ll get them out and wear them today, as a reminder.

    5:01 pm
    Marie said...


    8:18 am
    Susie said...

    @Wendelah, how beautiful.

  • I was 51 years old when I received my first set of pearls. That was last year. After a long and very difficult marriage, and ultimately divorce, I was blessed with a man who loves me, respects me and encourages me. He helped me to see my value as a person, with thoughts and opinions that were valid and good. That had been stolen from me. On the day of our wedding, he placed three sets of pearls that had belonged to his mother on the table in my dressing room. They were precious because they belonged to his mother (who had died several years earlier from alzheimer’s disease) and because he had chosen them. I waited a long time for my first set of pearls. But more than that, I waited a long time to blossom into the person I was always intended to be. I may be a “late bloomer”, but I am thoroughly enjoying this time of my life with the freedom, transparency and peace it brings with it.

  • My first pearls were given to me by my grandmother. On the way out to my high school graduation ball, she scrutinised my outfit, then took off her costume pearl necklace and fastened it round my neck and said they were mine to keep.

    When she died a few years later, my mother and her sisters were concerned that they couldn’t find her “good” pearl neck lace. I produced the necklace which turned out to be her real pearls. After much discussion I was allowed keep them, but only just…

  • My first pearls were a simple 7mm strand, just-longer-than-choker length, that my grandmother gave me for college graduation. Still my favorites.

  • I love this extreme casual with pearls look, and would probably wear a pearl bracelet, but am not interested in this give away. I’ve just started wearing bracelets again, and need time to adjust before any commitments are made.

  • I’ve always been a pearl girl! My father won a pearl necklace as a door prize (Rotary luncheon?) and while they were fake, they were a good fake. I wore them all through my 20s until they became a “not good” fake. My husband replaced them with a lovely real strand maybe 15 years ago.
    My 17 year old daughter steals them constantly-she also prefers pearls.
    I finally enabled an exchange. My mother had given the oldest (19 yr old) daughter her real pearls-but she is a diamond girl. So I sent a diamond tennis bracelet to the 19 yr old, she sent her (grandma’s)pearls to her little sister and I got my own pearls back. Everyone is happy.
    And my necklace would be happy to have a friend!

  • You lost a Mikimoto pearl bracelet?????? I would be devastated.

    My first pearls I do not remember. However, I remember buying pearl studs at the old Joseph Magnin across from the campus in Berkeley. I still have and wear them to this day. Pearls are my favorites, so I have several pearl bracelets already. Please eliminate me from the contest, but the bracelet is lovely.

    Oh, I graduated in 1973, so my pearl studs are now antiques.

  • My first pearls were given to me by my maternal grandmother on my wedding day (another first)40 years ago on May 10,1975…a beautiful necklace with tiny pearl drop earrings to match. They were hers for a long time (the something old part) before she passed them down to me, her first grand daughter. I wore the set again for my second wedding in December, 2006 – feeling as if she was still with me. Someday, they’ll be passed along to my grand daughter. There were other “pearls” she passed along…about buying the best I could afford, what “quality vs. quantity” means and the power of holding someone tight in love. But, that’s for another day. At heart, I’m a bracelet girl who prefers silver and platinum to match her hair. The pearls would be lovely on their own (no matter what the clasp is made of), but I think I’d wear them with my other “legacy”…mom’s stack of sterling bracelets I inherited.

  • My first pearl was my pearl on a gold chain for my christening from my godfather, a pearl for every Christmas and birthday until I turned 21 when I had enough for a real necklace. The pearls are in a box in my mothers dresser waiting to be taken to the jeweler to be finally turned into a necklace.

  • I agree with Kathy. You do look adorable. My favorite style of dressing is casual with good shoes and a good watch for balance. You have inspired me to wear my patent leather flats with grosgrain ribbon bows. They are Silvia Fiorentina shoes from years ago. (I tried looking up Fiorentina shoes. Have they gone out of business?) Your t-shirt looks perfect. If the bin has not yet been taken away, please reclaim your t-shirt and put it into the wash. The pearl bracelet is lovely. I am so sorry you lost yours. That is a hard kind of loss. You should consider recreating it, spacers and all. I’m not a bracelet wearer. I have bracelets; they represent a triumph of a love of beauty over a recognition of my daily reality. My first pearls were earrings given to me by my now ex-husband as an engagement gift. They were from the State Street Marshall Field’s store in Chicago. I have a pearl strand I love that was designed for me years ago by a jeweler in Ashland, Oregon. (Love the jeweler, no sales tax. See a play, have jewelry made.) A second pearl strand was given to me by my mother when she moved from her home to assisted living in March 2013. She gave me her earrings, pearl studs, and tiny seed pearl earrings clustered on chains. Since my mom refused to pierce her ears, despite my dad attempting to entice her to do so with diamond studs, her earrings are not for pierced ears. I have had the seed pearl earrings changed to a white gold French wire (the teensy chains are still in yellow gold), but I haven’t altered the yellow gold screw backs of her single pearl earrings because they do remind me of her and of my dad. My own pearl strand is pearls all of a size with a custom clasp added later that is decorative, and that I wear to the side. The clasp was made by a jeweler who works with the owners of Mansoor & Gore in Palo Alto. I love their work and taste. My mom’s pearls are graduated. They were a gift to my mom from my dad when she had one of we four children. My mom is now unclear which one. That is a result of having four kids within seven years. Maybe for me the most important part of jewelry is what it carries in love and history. I hope the bracelet goes to the perfect home.

  • My first pearls came from my grandmother.

    Back in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s a jewelry store in San Francisco offered an “Add A Pearl” program. It was a way to purchase pearls, one at a time, and add them to a necklace. It was an affordable option for people on a tight budget (like my grandmother).

    Every year, for my birthday, Christmas and/or other special occasions, my grandmother would “add a pearl” to my necklace. Occasionally, she would take me to the jewelry store so I could see the progress. It was always a special occasion and it made me feel special and very grown up.

    The necklace was completed just before I graduated from high school. I wore the beautiful strand at my graduation ceremony and have worn it often since. Every time I put the necklace on, I remember my beautiful grandmother.

    Someday, when I have granddaughters of my own, I plan to look for an “add a pearl” program so I continue the tradition.

  • You look fabulous! Love every single piece and the way you put it together. My first pearl? I’m sure it was a fake. Given to me by my high school foot ball quaryerback boyfriend. To be honest, it really was’nt very pretty. The next pearl was the pearl necklace
    i inherited from my mother in law. Now ‘i wonder do i look too old to wear pearls round my neck with my grey hair? Ah, but strands around the wrist, with boyfriend jeans? Perfect!

  • My first pearls were a long rope of fake 9mms, hand-me-downs from my mother. My first real pearls were originally my mother’s as well, a pretty string with a pink cast and glowing orient that she bought in Japan, and a treasured memento after she died. But they mysteriously disappeared from around my neck one night at the opera.

    I love the quality of the light in this photo–can’t wait to visit SF next month!

  • My first pearls were a strand of high-quality artificial. Given to me on the occasion of my 13th birthday by my paternal grandmother. When I asked if they were real (stay classy 13 year old me) my grandmother said, “real enough for a seventh grader.”
    As the only granddaughter, I later inherited all of her jewelry, and her only “real pearl” was a ring that is too fragile to wear. I think she wanted me to have something that she would have loved as a girl, but never had.

  • My first string of pearls came from my soon-to-be husband some 16 years ago. He presented them to me in the magnificent setting of the romantic and wonderful Bouley restaurant in Tribeca, NYC. An incredible meal and an incredible experience – I will always remember the smell of apples that greeted diners –artfully and robustly spilling out of baskets in the very French foyer. Wonderful!

  • I have yet to possess any first pearls, but I could envision these pearls going perfectly with a lavender linen dress and my nude leather flats. I’m imagining a windy day that whips everything about, so the dress would have to be fairly fitted on the bottom, and the pearls could add a bit of “yes I did put thought into this” to such a simple outfit.

  • My first pearls were from my grandmother.. a simple strand of seed pearls with matching earrings.

    Later, my mother gave me the pearl earrings she had been married in, which look a little like dangly grape clusters…

  • I got my first pearls on my confirmation day. They were an add-a-pearl set that my parents began when I was born. I’ve still got them somewhere, but they probably wouldn’t go around my neck now! I love pearls, it’s my birthstone.

  • Being born in June, my birthstone is pearl, my birth flower the rose. When I turned 21, my father gave me a gold, engraved, curlicued pendant, very Victorian in appearance, though not an antique. (Not then, anyway. Might be considered so now!) Its center design is a rose, whose center is a tiny seed pearl. On the back is engraved, “Joy to the girl who is born in June and wears a pearl.” That was many moons ago, but I treasure it, and my dad, still.

  • Egad! What a gorgeous giveaway! BTW, though I live in Canada, all of my relatives are in US so if I win, I’ve got a US address all lined up…

    My first pearl was part of a charm in a charm bracelet that my grandfather (a jeweler from Sicily) made for me. That bracelet is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Everything, 24K gold. Seriously, I’m afraid to take it out of the safe-deposit box at the bank… I was the second grandchild; I lived with my parents and grandparents as a baby and I was THE kid. I continued to receive jewelry with pearls made by him until he died and I treasure those pieces. (I have gorgeous earrings, a pendant…)

    How would I wear this bracelet were I to win? Probably much as you do. I’m similar in that I dress casually – but pristinely. I love pearls with jeans. Actually I prefer them with jeans and a T shirt to a fancy outfit. Then they really hold their own!

  • I have never owned real pearls. My mother used to talk about treasuring her mother’s pearls but I didn’t find them when I cleaned out her belongings. I would wear the bracelet with my jeans and try to maintain good posture.. just like Mom said!

  • My first pearls were given to me on my 18th birthday by my maternal grandmother. My grandfather had bought them for her, somewhere in the South Pacific in the 1960s, and they are a beautiful petite set of very “baroque” pearls–lightly shimmery with slight texture on the surface of the pearls. I had them re-strung a few years ago to be a perfect 16″, and they are so perfect now that I wear them like armor. Whenever I need to feel cool and put together and on top of things, professionally or personally, I put on this strand of pearls that has so much significance for my family, and feel like nobody can touch me.

  • My first pearls were simple pearl stud earrings given to me by my mother. At her funeral last year, it was a joy to pass on a piece of her in the form of simple pearl bracelets to her great-granddaughters. She would most definitely approve that we split up the pair between each.

  • My first set of real pearls were from my boss (I was over 40). He went to China and brought me and his wife a set of pearls. Mine were pink and I love them to this day. How would I wear the pearl bracelet….anyway I can. With a black dress to a party, with a skirt and blouse at work or casual with a black maxi skirt, white t-shirt and blue jean jacket. Pearls are meant to be worn.

  • My first pearls were picked out by me for my sixteenth birthday–a gold chain with sixteen interspersed pearls. Broken beyond repair by my nursing son. I still have the pieces.

  • …….Sixteen years later

  • I have no pearls, yet, but I’ve always loved them. I can see wearing them with a casual jersey dress in the summer, with espadrilles, for a nice but not too nice date night look.

  • My favorite strand of pearls were given to me by my husband right before our daughter was born . Perfectly perfect .

  • Yes, I totally understand how you’d want to hold onto this one. It is just gorgeous.

    My mother wore pearls (earrings and necklace) throughout my childhood, and still does come to think of it. They are classics and never go out of style. I too have dabbled but I’ve never felt at ease with a necklace (not sure if they suit me). I had not, however, considered a bracelet of them though, which is strange as bracelets are my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear (asidefrom rings).

    I felt terrible reading your story of your pearl loss. I would have cried for days, sort of like PG Wodehouse’s tale.

  • I forgot to mention that the universal appeal of pearls is that they go with anything – dressed up or down. I’d consider wearing them with smart jeans and a jacket for a casual look or dressed up for an evening out on the town with dress and heels.

  • When I was 18, my mother gave me a set of (cultured) pearls. How I loved that single strand, and I wore them to death! They’ve broken, I’ve had them restrung, but alas, they have finally given up the ghost. I keep them in a special box in memory of my mom. I would love to have another single strand someday. I would wear this bracelet with EVERYTHING. My lifestyle is pretty casual now, so they would dress up my jeans, linens, and summer dresses beautifully.

  • I have a lot of pearls, and I wear them frequently. Some I inherited, some were gifts, and some I purchased myself (and I would buy you again, beautiful pink pearls wit the amethyst clasp).

    My first set of pearls, though, was an Add-a-Pearl necklace with six wee pearls on a gold chain, given to me by my grandparents. I still have it!

  • My mother gave me her pearls to wear on my wedding day, and I still treasure them.

  • Not the first, but the best pearls were given to me by my husband on my wedding day 26 years ago. A graduated strand of perfect white pearls, about 18 inches long. His father had hand picked each pearl and had them strung in Thailand for his mother many years ago.
    This pearl necklace is my treasure. I’ve had the re-knotted a couple of times, and have worn them casually and dressed up.
    There is nothing quite like pearls against bare skin. I love the way you styled yourself around that bracelet! Just the way I would do it.;-)

  • Oh, my first pearls were when I was a baby. I had a faux pearl necklace as seen in pictures when I was around 9 months old. I believe my first real pair was when my older sister married when I was 12 and was a junior bridesmaid. The dress was a horrible peach satin affair, but I still adore (and wear) those pearls. I have other pearl accessories, but no bracelet.

    I am going to create my outfit with clothes that I actually own rather than from advertisements. My typical Saturday attire is Lacoste polo (navy, in particular), khaki shorts, hair in a bun, silver earrings, and J. Crew flip flops or Sam Edelman nude ballet flats. Sometimes I’ll wear a watch, but I wouldn’t stack a pearl bracelet with it as I want the bracelet to be showcased.

    I’m one that rarely leaves the house without a set of pearls on, but would not wear pearl earrings or necklace with pearl bracelet. Normally, I wear the pearl necklace with this outfit, sans any other jewelry except my silver wedding ring.

    Thank you for hosting the giveaway!

  • I’m thrilled to read this today, because I’m wearing my first pearls. I picked out a lovely fat strand for my 40th birthday, but they somehow catch my hair at the nape of my neck, so today I pulled my 16th birthday strand of small, cultured pearls from the drawer. When my mother selected my 16th birthday gift, she also saved to pay for it and I knew how lucky I was to receive it. I have fair skin and was fair-haired and the ivory tone of those pearls netted me a lot of compliments on my coloring. I immediately loved the way pearls warm to your skin and for years, I wore that strand almost daily, with everything from Oxford shirts to church clothes.

    Love the bracelet. Pearl on, indeed.

  • A pink, plastic thing from the Woolworth’s store. It took months to save up for the single strand necklace. Lugging empty pepsi bottles to the corner candy store to collect the deposit required navigating four flights of stairs. This was Manhattan in the fifties. I can’t remember if the deposit was a penny or if it was two cents, but one day the brown bag gave way and the bottles crashed to the sidewalk, slicing open my big toe. My left foot still bears the scar from a LOT of stitches. Fast forward 53 years and pearls remain the prettiest adornment imaginable. We’re flying on a charter from Iceland to Greenland next month aboard a prop plane that allows very little luggage. A pair of pearl studs and this charming bracelet would go a long way toward dressing up black yoga pants and a gray kimono J.Jill sweater.
    p.s. That tee shirt looked great! You should have saved it for gardening at least ;))

  • While I would love to have these beautiful pearls, I would love to see my daughter wear them more. So, if I happen to be the fortunate one, I will pass them on to my heart and soul, and never regret it for a minute.

  • Pearls are ALWAYS a good idea. They add polish and class to anything. I was recently at the Marithuis Museum in The Hague and I was so inspired by Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring and I ended up buying a multi strand pearl necklace in the shop. My first pearls I still own. They are a Mikimoto strand – a gift from my husband for my 40th birthday. I love them every time I wear them. Mary Kay

  • I bought my first real pearls as a birthday present for myself 3 years ago. They were purchased in Things Finer, a vintage shop with delectable things. The necklace has wonderful greys and lilacs. The pearls gleam and twinkle with a life of their own and I feel so beautiful wearing them.

  • My first pearls: a chocolate pearl and silver necklace that was not quite a strand. Very modern, and went with very little that I wore at the time. I would have been in my mid-twenties, and it were a gift from my parents. I still have it, though I rarely wear it.

  • My first (and only) pearls are in a Miriam Haskell necklace that was given to me by my maternal grandmother, who was literally love incarnate. She was so lovely, kind, generous, and just…happy. She and my grandfather always dressed well (and it was nothing to do with money). I’m so lucky to have known both of them. I’m so glad I read your post, as I need to get my necklace restrung; every time I wear it, I can feel my grandmother’s energy and love. Pearl are something that I’d never buy for myself (and not ask for), but wearing them makes me feel elegant and a bit sophisticated.

  • I bought my first pearls; an 18 inch saltwater cultured pearl necklace on my first trip to Italy in 1984. Our tour group drove over the border to Lugano, Switzerland and stopped by the Bucherer store. I wore those pearls daily for the rest of the trip and proudly declared them to US Customs on the return to the States. I still have them and they’ve been restrung at least four times.

  • My first pearls were a set of studs that belonged to my mother – she passed away when I was a very small child, so those are actually what I remember her by. They’ve had to be put back together a couple of times now (that darn post), but I still wear them all the time.

  • My very first pearls were a long strand of baby-blue plastic pearls from my next door neighbor, Eleanor, when I was about 4 years old. I have them to this day, though much of the baby-blue paint on them has chipped.

    My very best pearls, though, were an 18-inch strand that my parents bought me as an 18th birthday gift. I was so overwhelmed by the generosity and beauty that I actually cried, and I promise, I’m not the type of person who cries over gifts.

    I’ve loved reading everyone’s pearl stories!

  • Pearls have come into and out of my life a number of times — a very good thing, because I love them and wear them dressed up and down. They make almost any outfit better. My first pearls were an Add-a-Pearl strand my godparents gave me when I was a baby. They added a few pearls to the necklace now and then, but it was stolen when my house was burglarized a few years ago, along with a number of other treasured pieces — including a 16-inch strand of graduated pearls my mother received for high school graduation. One piece that survived the burglary was an antique slim gold crescent-shaped pin with seed pearls atop the crescent that had been my grandmother’s. Great friends of mine brought me an 18-inch strand of freshwater pearls from their trip to China. They are quite beautiful, with a softly glowing pale pink blush. My track record with pearl studs is not good — I seem to lose them over and over. I’ve never had a pearl bracelet, but would adore one as I love bracelets of all kinds.

  • My parents gave me a three strand jackie o pearl necklace for my 21st birthday. It was beautiful. And incredibly generous. But I never figured out how to wear it (it felt SO fancy) and (in my youth) didn’t take the best care of it.

    Love the idea of casual pearls.

  • I dress casually and I love beautiful jewelry. I got a pair of pearl stud earrings back in junior high as a gift from my parents. They are simple, beautiful, and go with everything.

  • First pearls were a strand of Mikimotos given to me by my mother, worn later with an antique pearl bracelet that my husband gave me for our wedding and to which he has added charms over the years. A coffee cup ( we met at a coffee shop), ballet shoes, a book, a piano, a motorcycle, the Eiffel Tower are among the charms. I’d wear this beautiful bracelet with the charm bracelet and jeans, tee, blazer, my everyday uniform.

  • I come from a family with superstitions. Pearls are tears of oysters and will only make you cry. My grandmother’s mother received pearls as a wedding present and was divorced and died of cancer before my grandmother was 12. In order to break that superstition she and my grandfather gave me a single strand of pearls when I graduated high school. They doted on me- the only grandchild- and would never make me cry. My grandfather died before I married and my grandmother just this past year. I still wear the pearls and the only tears they gave me is when I remember how much I was loved.

    10:48 am
    Patsy said...

    @PTO Prep, I have a friend who completely believes this! “Pearls bring tears.”

  • My first pearls (a 16″ strand, round, ivory) were a fifth grade “graduation” gift I received when I was 10. I had no use for them at that point and could not for the life of me understand why my parents would have thought this was a cool gift for their daughter. I do not recall how well I managed to keep my deeply ungrateful reaction to myself. Sometime between college and law school I retrieved the necklace from the safe at my parents’ house and put them into my regular rotation. I am glad my parents gave me a gift for the adult I would become, even if it took her a decade to emerge.

    When my much younger sister-in-law graduated from high school, I convinced my husband that we should give her the same gift, since my pearls had served me so well as an adult. She made the most absolutely disappointed face that I could imagine upon opening the package; so much so that I called my mother to apologize again for what my behavior at 10 must have been like.

  • my 21st birthday present was an opera length strand of pearls from my parents – I love them and wear them to this day (many moons past 21)

  • My first pearls were a pair of earrings from my aunt. They were a gift for my 16th birthday and I still wear them 30+ years later….

  • Great outfit and your pearls are the finishing touch – so beautiful!
    My first pearl was in a ring my father gave me as a junior high graduation gift. It was set between two “swirly” gold prongs which was so artistic to me at the time. I still have it as it is one of my most cherished pieces of jewelry with great sentimental value.
    One of the first times I came to your blog was when you posted about whether you can wear pearl stud earrings with a pearl strand necklace – remember?
    I loved reading all the comments of the pearl wearing customs in different geographical locations! I was hooked from that “cultured” moment on!

  • Totally appropriate for a casual night out, Lisa. We get to do what we want now…best part of being a”girl of a certain age.”

    I remember digging through my mom’s jewelry drawer (didn’t everyone do that as kids?) and finding a velvet box with a string of pearls. I begged her to let me wear them, and of course, she said yes. I recall feeling quite grown up. I think she has them back now, for safe-keeping.

  • My first “real” pearls were given to me on my wedding day (40 years ago) by my mother-in-law as my something old. I love them and still wear them. Since my normal attire is super casual, I would wear the bracelet to add a little dress up to my outfit. I absolutely love pearls and wear a pearl strand often.

  • I grew up in the early 60s when ladies in my Midwestern city still wore gloves to go downtown. My first “pearls” were a fake 16 inch strand of graduated pearls with a little gold clasp. I still have them packed away in a children’s jewel box with other treasures from the past. They are so memorable because I wore them to go downtown to see The Nutcracker ballet when I was six. I still remember everything I was wearing: A pink cardigan with a sweater-catcher (remember those?), a pink skirt, a little headband and, of course, my “pearl” necklace. I also had a little pink purse which, in my memory, contained a pair of white gloves, but the gloves may have been an embellishment of my imagination. I still remember exactly how it felt sitting right in the center of the audience being transported by the magic of the ballet and touching my pearls. I have never had real ones but I wore those fake ones long after I realized they were fake…until their finish began to peel off and flake some time in high school. Pearls are magical!

  • My first pearl (yes, singular) was within a small heart-shaped pendant my father gave me when I was a little girl – I still have it. I think that, so far, it is my only pearl. I also have many strings of what my mother maintained were pearls that, I suspect, are not (some obviously so, while others could pass in dim light if you don’t notice the tiny flakes). I love the softness of them, regardless.

  • My first “pearls” were given to me right before I had an MRI when I was 6ish(they made me feel super special). My dad bought my first real pearls for my 16th birthday (he was away for business and I suspect he picked them up in duty-free).

  • I had never had one piece of nice jewelry when I met my future husband. He was a poor student and I supported us on a librarian’s salary, but he gave me a single strand of pearls for Christmas. Tiny, beautiful, luminescent. I wore it every single day for 3 years, my only finery. I still cherish it today.
    I’ve never owned a pearl bracelet, yet I can now see it with my various selves. With my executive dress, with my college-town, weekend casual. I like the statement, very much.

  • My first real pearls were a pair of large white studs I bought for myself a few years ago. Very simple, very classic. I wear them when I have a big meeting, when I want to impress, or just because… I would probably go casual with the pearl bracelet, too.

  • My first pearls were restrung from my great-grandmother’s: she had two opera necklaces that were divided into 15-inch chokers for all of her great-granddaughters. I was young when she did this, and didn’t wear mine with any frequency until late high school. It is very, very special to me.

    My husband-to-be has a June birthday; his birthstone is the pearl. The neckline of my wedding dress doesn’t lend itself to wearing a necklace, so I would wear the bracelet on our wedding day.

  • So many lovely memories of pearls from other readers. I am from a family with worn pearl long past wearability yet a distain for fakes. My first wearable pearls were earring from a WASP boyfriend who understood why I needed them and intuitively knew they were me. My second pearls were a stand from Blue Nile that I bought when I paid down student loans and could reward myself. 20 years later I still wear both, typically not together, and feel me. I no longer need pearls, although I am still regret not responding to the Kiton suit…. In me there is a lady in pearls and a suit who can take on the world; outside a working mom just getting through the day.

  • Still no pearls! But love the bracelet, which is truly lovely with the color of the bag.

  • Hi Lisa –

    It’s Chris from Melbourne Australia – we have spoken on email before when I was having trouble accessing your emails.

    My son is getting married and I think the pearl bracelet you featured would look quite special – it looked fabulous on you – I have a question….. As my wrists are very small – perhaps not in proportion to the rest of me …. But was wondering if the bracelet could be made smaller – don’t worry if you don’t know – just thought I’d ask your opinion.

    Love getting your mails thru now – congratulations on a job so very well done.


  • My first pearls were a pair of delicate pink studs, given to me by my mother as I dressed for my wedding. It was a very unusual gift for her, and all the more sentimental for it. In one of life’s little tragedies, one of the studs (with their ridiculously dainty screw backs) went astray on my wedding night. Silly to think that I still grieve over that lost earring-though I have kept its twin to remember my mother by.

  • My parents allowed me to get my ears pierced when I entered high school. It was a birthday present, and Mom took me to the jewelry store to pick out my first pair of earrings. Pearls studs, which I still have and often wear. I’ve been gifted pearls over the years including the strand Mom wore at her wedding, which I in turn wore on my wedding day. Now my friends and I have an agreement that we will wear our pearls when we go out together and since our gatherings are typically casual we say YES to pearls with tees and jeans! My name, Margaret, is said to mean “pearl” so it’s no wonder I love them.

  • My mother is the daughter of share cropping farmers. She knew she wanted a better life and managed to leave a very small town in the South in the 1950s and made her way in the world. When I was in college, she gave me a strand of pearls as a way of launching me into adulthood. I have always treasured the necklace for what it represented to my Mom! She was able to give her children things that were beyond her wildest imagination as a child.

  • The year I got my ears pierced my mother gave me pearl earrings for my birthday. I had them for years and years but somehow lost one, possibly in a move. My mother, now 90, never pierced her ears. My father passed away more than a decade ago but my mother still wears her wedding rings. Her engagement ring was designed by my father. It has three pearls that he bought in the far east during WWll. I would give the bracelet to my mother for her birthday.

  • First, I have to say your “outfit” looks great, not like an outfit at all, which is always best. I’m going to dinner with the Mister tonight, and I’ll be copying it as much as possible with what’s already in my closet.

    Second, my first pearls were a high school graduation present, and I recklessly lost them while in college. My second pearl necklace was a gift to me from me on the occasion of my second marriage. The Mister gave me pearl earrings with pearl jackets, and I still wear both the necklace and the earrings a lot, although seldom at the same time.

    I would most likely wear the pearl bracelet with a chambray shirt or a ponte black dress. What a lovely giveaway. You are a very good sport!

  • My grandparents gave me my first pearls for my high school graduation. Since Katrina wiped away their house & everything in it, I treasure that necklace for many reasons. A little piece of them that I still have.

  • My first pearls? A single black pearl, irregular in shape, to be worn as a pendant on a chain. It was a souvenir from my Uncle’s trip to Tahiti – he always brought back lovely things for me – I must have been a teenager when this was given to me. I haven’t thought about that pearl for a long time – you have prompted me to retrieve it from jewelry box and where it this summer.

    Thanks, Lisa.

    9:09 am
    t said...

    …wear it this summer.

  • I do love pearls and make any woman look classy…even in boyfriend jeans…
    I’ll pass on the pearl drawing as GSL doesn’t do jewelry but want to hear the backstory on those jeans? Did this boyfriend escape from prison? I hope the bloodhounds that chewed up his knees weren’t rabid…

  • I don’t have pearls! Although my mom has some saltwater pearls (beautiful) that I borrowed as a child, at least to play dress-up in :)

    I am getting married this summer and could wear this bracelet with my dress (a pale lilac color). Alternatively, I could wear these to my new job where casual attire is acceptable, but it never hurts to dress up a little bit.

  • I was recently introduced to your site and have been enjoying reading your posts. My first pearls were from our next door neighbor when I was in the second grade. They were in a purse with a bunch of baby blue bows. I guess she thought I’d like to play dress up with them, but I was way too much of a tomboy! Don’t know what happened to those pearls. My first real pearls were a set of pink freshwater pearls which were choker length. My parents gave them to me when I turned 16, and I thought they were beautiful. I still have them but I am far too tall to wear something so delicate.

  • Pearl stories! So timely! I just had my 30th birthday present (from my parents) opera length pearls restrung to a double length strand for my 53rd(!) birthday. My first pearls were earrings from my godmother for my confirmation, my second, pearl studs with little sapphires from my sisters for my college graduation, third, the aforementioned 30th birthday gift and last, a pearl bracelet on my wedding day. The bracelet was given by my mother to her sister as a bridesmaid gift. Her sister died young and tragically, so my mother got the bracelet back.

    As you can see, I’ve been incredibly fortunate, so I will take myself out of the running – but that bracelet is gorgeous! And thank you for offering it up.

    9:32 am
    Patsy said...

    @Patsy, this clearly resonated with me, since when I went home last night, I looked at my pearls. I also found the 12mm pair I bought myself as a gift, ’cause that’s how I roll, and the strand of gorgeous peacock pearls, my then boyfriend, now husband bought me. Twice more blessed.

  • First, I really enjoy your blog.
    My first pearls were a pair of pearl studs that were given to me by my boyfriend (now husband of almost 19 years) as a Christmas present. I still wear them often.
    When we got married I wanted a necklace to match, so we bought very nice (fake) necklace. High quality small pearls – you would never know they aren’t real.
    My favorite pearls are a set of earrings and pendant from my mother-in-law. They are so lovely and had belonged to her mother which makes the extra special.
    I also use pearls to dress up outfits. That bracelet is lovely and I imagine it looking great with a blouse and dress pants. Or to dress up a tee and sweater combo.
    Thanks again!

  • My first pearls were given to me on my 18th birthday. The necklace belonged to my grandmother, then my mother and to this day are one of my most prized pieces. Each time I wear the necklace I feel like both of them are watching over me.

    I would wear the bracelet with almost everything….such a great staple.

  • That’s a pretty bracelet on you and I like how it tweaks your boyish ensemble.

    My first real pearls were a strand of 10mm CFWs given by my dear friend Missi, who grew up in the trade, in Honolulu- and was the goddaughter of Harry Winston. I still treasure them, and her.

  • Early in my marriage, I was strolling with my husband and window shopping in Ashland, Oregon. I commented, “Some day, I’d like real pearls,” and he responded “WHEELBARROWS?–why would you want another wheelbarrow?” I carefully enunciated “REAL PEARLS, not wheelbarrows!” He laughed, but for my birthday I got a lovely double strand necklace of large, creamy freshwater pearls.

  • My husband bought me a string of pearls probably 20 years ago. They have been restrung many times. (Smart man also brought me home a woven strand of pink freshwater pearls from Singapore about 10 years ago.)

  • My first pearls were a 16 inch strand I received for my first communion. I gave them to my daughter for hers a few years ago. My next (and current) set were for high school graduation, a matched 2o inch strand of beautiful cultured pearls and a bracelet. I wear them several times a week, pretty much with everything!

  • My first pearls were a short, graduated strand – very demure – that belonged to my mother. The cord disintegrated, and I’ve got them in a pouch, ready to be re-strung.

    I have a single-strand bracelet and have often managed to pull off jeans and a (new, nice, pressed) white t-shirt, plus nice shoes, simply by adding that bracelet and pearl studs in my ears.

    My go-to pearl studs are now silver-black pearls, as my white ones, also a hand-me-down from my mom, came unglued from the backs.

    As I type this, I realize it really is time to upgrade my pearl wardrobe and get the originals fixed!

  • My first pearls, which I still have & love, were/are an imitation pearl & sterling station bracelet my Uncle John brought back from a visit to Asia in the 1960’s. It would look nice with the contest bracelet!

  • Pearls have always been and always will be my favorite. I’m so sorry you lost such a special bracelet, especially a gift from your father. My father never gave me a piece of jewelry!
    I have been silently wishing for a pearl bracelet. This one is especially beautiful.

    Thanks for a wonderful giveaway, love you blog. I’m a relatively new reader.

  • I love all things pearl-the luster, the ocean, the light and white. So lovely! I would wear this bracelet with an old, white cotton oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up, while kayaking in Provincetown Harbor, and thinking of my beloved aunt Alice. My husband and I take a bottle of wine out with us at the end of a hot day, drifting in a kayak, and the pearls would love to visit their salty waters, and enjoy a bit of relaxation and fun rather than a safe home in a box. My aunt? She died a few years ago, the town nurse in Provincetown during the AIDS crisis, and Alice treated herself to a few nice things. Despite her impoverished lifestyle, she managed to live on the harbor, wear her gold cast ring, and drink champagne from an old Waterford flute. I think the pearls would enjoy such a lifestyle!

  • My first real pearls, a lovely necklace from Mikimoto, were a 21st birthday present from my grandfather. He had done the same for each of my sisters before me. My grandfather was not a particularly good person – my grandmother divorced him when my mother and her sister were young because of his infidelities, and that was a pretty tough thing to do in the 1920s – but at least he got the necklace right.

  • My first pearls were costume ones from my grandmother’s jewelry box. I loved to play with them, and one day when I was about eight she told me I could have them. It was a huge deal to me and my first “big person jewelry” moment. They are peeling now from age and wear, and the faux diamonds in the clasp have yellowed, but I still have them and I love them.

  • The only pearl I have ever owned is a single pearl ring-so a bracelet with pearls would be over the top.

  • So sorry you lost the pearl bracelet given to you by your father. Been there and it is hard. The bracelet you are giving away is gorgeous!

    My first “pearls” was a beautiful singular pearl on a silver chain. A surprising and lovely gift from my older brother Mark on my 18th birthday.

    I still have the necklace and cherish it. But I would trade it and anything I own to have my big brother back. He passed away 11 years ago.

    As always, a lovely and thought provoking post.

  • First pearls? A pair of studs that were a college graduation gift from a beloved aunt. They were the only piece of jewelry not lost when our house was broken into years ago, because I had worn them to work that day. A few years back my husband gave me a nice strand of Mikimotos that I love. I wore them to work today, in fact, where they went so well with the custodial mop I used to clean up the flood in our break room when the faucet exploded. In between those real pearls I bought myself a triple strand of decent fakes, my “Barbara Bush” pearls, still a lot of fun to wear.

    You outfit is adorable. There’s nothing like pretty jewelry to jazz up a look.

  • My first pearls were fake. The morning of my wedding I ran down to Macy’s to buy a pair. Life was so different then – bridezillas were unheard of! If funds were tight, the priority was the band, drinks, and food. If your dress was white and something was hanging around your neck – you were fine. Age has made me more particular about my jewelery. I wear a black Tahitian on a silver necklace almost every day.

  • My first pearls were a gift from my grandma, either for my 17th birthday, or the following Christmas, I cannot recall. I first wore them for my senior prom in high school, and I continue to wear them to almost every wedding I attend these days. I

  • I bought my first real pearls, a necklace, as a 40th birthday present to myself. I wear it occassionaly dressed up but more often with jeans. I wear my pearl stud earrings often.
    I’m a bracelet gal and I would love that beautiful offer.
    Since you lost your pearl bracelet, you should consider entering yourself in the giveaway. How fun that could be if you were randomly selected from the entries!
    I am from Canada but live near the border so I have a mailing address in Washington state (for those odd shopping opertunities wink-wink). Hope that makes me eligible!

  • Lisa I received my first pearl necklace and earrings in Hawaii on honeymoon with my late husband. I then gave these to my daughter when she married. Of course I would be thrilled to have this beautiful bracelet!!

    The Arts by Karena

  • My first pearls were a graduated choker given to me by my Aunt to inspire me to quit sucking my thumb….”your teeth are like a beautiful string of pearls, not only do we want to see them but it would be nice if they all lined up” a beautiful gift and I did leave my thumb sucking behind.
    I would wear the pearl bracelet when ever I had to do a demo in class….what a great way to divert “attention from the arms to the beautiful pearls. Look at me and what I can do” they call. A flash of opalescence and brilliance

  • Hello; oh the pearls drew me out of lurkdom! First, what a wonderful outfit. I’ve been thinking of the confidence projected by simplicity — or so it feels to me, these days.

    My step-grandmother, who taught me about everything from how to set a table to how to tie a scarf (not the kinds of lesson my marvelous hippy mother was interested in), took a long strand of pearls from her mother and made short necklaces for me, my aunt, and my mother. Our relationship is complex in so many ways — and I treasure those pearls in all of their complexity. And because they’re beautiful.

    Thank you.

  • Pearl studs w/little diamonds were a graduation gift from my mother….

  • My first pearls were a pair of earrings given to me by my grandmother. I thought the earrings were so pretty. I wore them ALL OF THE TIME. I still wearing pearl earrings daily.

    I would wear this bracelet as a compliment to my suit. When I wear my suits, I need a feminine touch, and I think the pearl bracelet would be the perfect compliment.

  • My first pearls are a strand I still weat that my father brought back from VietNam when I was in the fifth grade.

  • Oh, my gosh! My first pearls were an absolute treasure. Pulled from one of the many tiny novelty jewelry boxes of my dear Grandma Schleicher. I say treasure because she had recently passed and my husband and I traveled 8 hours to begin the tedious task of clearing her home. Sorting through the detritus of life makes a person realize what is important. Family and memories. My own Mother had passed and Grandma was my last link to the essence of my mother. I’d opened the wooden jewelry box expecting more buttons and paste, to pull the most luxurious strand of pearls free from a jumble of nothing. The heavy weight of luminescence, falling nearly to my waist felt like my mother and grandmother had rested their hands on my shoulders reassuring me that they were with me. The strand when tripled around my neck, cascading in three loops. Perhaps the closest to Coco Channel I’d ever be, but more importantly, closer to my Mother and Grandmother.

  • My first pearls are almost still my only only pearls – a necklace my parents gave me, via my grandmother, for my high school graduation. This post reminds me I must wear it more often!

  • Oh, I loved reading everyone’s pearl story!

    My first real pearls were a strand given to me in college by my mother, who recently passed away. I loved wearing them in college and later, though they are in a box and need to be re-strung. This post has reminded me of them, and my mother who I miss so much.

    Almost everyday I wear a pair of fresh water pearls on silver hooks. I enjoy how they move and gleam when I am wearing them – even alone at home!

    I would wear the beautiful bracelet often, I love how pearls dress up a casual outfit and they make me feel beautiful!


  • A little late to this game, but…pearls. Sigh. Remember EVERYONE wearing them when I was a child, single strand, double strand, etc. Came to see them as the penultimate in elegance whether worn casually or formally. In junior high, I had a very long strand of fake pearls you could double up and wear in assorted ways. Interestingly, I remember wearing them long with a long sleeved print dress that had a Nehru collar. My homage to the Beatles, I suppose. Had a bracelet given me by my maternal grandmother when I was in high school. I didn’t wear it much until I was in my 20s. Best pearls I ever got were the beautiful pearl earrings my husband gave me as a wedding present. I guess we really knew each other pretty well 32 years ago since I gave him a camera which he has put to good use ever since. ;) I wore them as my something new and my grandmother’s pearls as my something old. It delights me now when my daughter wears the earrings when she wants to strike an elegant look. My husband gave me a long strand a couple of years ago for Christmas. I love layering it with other pieces or by itself. Who knew how many stories pearls could tell? Apparently you did, Lisa. This has been one of your best comment strands ever, all puns intended.

  • My first pearl was one of a pair of conjoined twin double pearls my father brought back from Japan when he was there on R&R from the Army in Korea. He kept them as loose pearls until he married my mother, and gave them to her thinking she’d want them set as earrings. Instead she wanted a ring, so seventeen years later they had it set as a pendant in a necklace for me for my sixteenth birthday. When my mother died six years later, my dad gave me the ring.

    That began my love affair with pearls, and the wonderful thing about them is that they go with anything. This bracelet I can picture myself wearing to my son’s law school graduation party in June, with a casual smoky gray cotton dress and jacket by XCVI, one of my favorite brands.

  • My first (and thus far only) pearls were a pendant and earring set given by my father for my high school graduation. I loved how classy and grown-up they made me feel. Unfortunately, I lost one earring; then the chain broke. They have been relegated to the bottom of the jewelry box for years along with all the others ‘to be repaired/replaced’.

  • Loved your post and I’m so sorry to have missed the drawing! (I’ve been swamped at work so I’m behind on getting through my home e-mails :-( Anyhow, I am pearls all the way! My first strand came from my sister who was lucky enough to receive two identical strands of graduated pearls for her birthday one year (one from our mother and the other from her god mother), so I asked if I could “borrow” one (forever), and she of course said yes. Well I’ve worn it a zillion times over the past 25 years and last month I accidentally broke it while reaching for my seatbelt in the car (I was in a rush and my thumb caught it and yanked it). So I took it to a local jewelry shop to have it re-strung (for $77!). It went in as a lovely 22″ double knotted strand and came back as a 19″ single knotted strand. When I spoke to the woman who did the work and asked why it was done that way she somewhat matter-of-factly informed me that she’d been stringing necklaces for over 30 years and not once had done a double knotted strand. When I asked if she’d be willing to re-do it as such she hesitated and said “that’s NOT a good look!” Well I guess I’ve had bad taste for the past 25 years!!! I know there are bigger, more important things to be concerned about in life but this still made me sad (and I am so mad at myself for not slowing down and being more careful). Anyway, the jewelry shop was very apologetic and gave me my money back without hesitation so tomorrow I’m off to try and find someone else to do it…

  • I’ve loved pearls since I was a teen, and wore strands of fakes throughout college.

    Imagine my delight when my parents presented me with a strand of real pearls as a college graduation gift! I still have and wear that strand now, almost thirty years later.

    Shortly after receiving the pearls, while working at my first job, I met an elderly lady who pointed at the pearls and instructed me, “Take care of those and they’ll last as long as your teeth!” And so I have. :-)

  • On my 12th birthday, my aunt had a long string of pearls restrung into 2, one for my cousin and one for me. I knew they were special because her father had given them to her and he was Chinese. There were no Chinese people around for me to see in Louisiana, that was so exotic. I wore them everywhere all the time, even camping. My mother looked at me one day (when I was 27) and said “you and those damn pearls”. I was shocked. And now I realize (after this giveaway) I’ve never had a pearl bracelet??? I’m on a mission now.

    7:21 am
    Lisa said...

    “You and those damn pearls.” I love that. Another title for an autobiography.

  • I had my first pearls on my sixteenth birthday off my Uncle the one for my 21st birthday off my gran. I had pink pearls when my daughter was born and white ones when my son was born, when I got married the top of the dress which was lace was covered in pearls.

    7:04 am
    Lisa said...

    A true devotée!