Weddings today aren’t only about the joining of two hearts in a lifelong partnership, but also about the merging of tradition with modern life. The latest trend of pairing pearls and sparkling crystals in a bride’s outfit is an aesthetic celebration of this merging.

Pearls have been present at weddings since ancient Greece, where they were thought necessary for a harmonious marriage. Because pearls were so difficult to harvest, they were mostly enjoyed by royalty like Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, until the Industrial Revolution made pearl culturing faster and more efficient enough to respond to mass consumer demand, making them more affordable. Regardless, pearls have maintained their aristocratic status and have often wrapped the necks of beautiful debutantes and noble women like Jacqueline Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II on their wedding days.

Purchasing pearls can be daunting. Not only are there different types ranging from natural to synthetic, but there are also various styles that need to be considered. Often you will see pearls listed as natural or cultured. Natural means just that—the pearl is formed in the sea within an oyster when a grain of sand entered its body. To protect itself from the intrusion, the oyster produces nacre around the debris for years and these nacre layers result in the pearl. The same process is conducted to produce cultured pearls, but man injects the oyster with debris in a controlled environment. Imitation pearls have nothing to do with nacre, and are synthetic, man-made beads—either painted glass, wax, or plastic—to make pearl-like costume jewelry. All types of pearls are beautiful, and whether you buy a natural, cultured, or imitation piece depends entirely on budget and preference.

Because they are so steeped in tradition, pearls connote a timeless and elegant look, but also can offer a wide array of expression. For example, a freshwater necklace with aquatic hues like this one can add the touch of blue needed to complete the old wedding tradition adage. However, if you want to follow in the fashionista footsteps of Grace Kelley or Audrey Hepburn, vintage pieces such as this antique cultured pearl pendant instantly adds class and sophistication to your wedding look.

Pearls also pair well with other types of jewelry, especially sparkling crystals. Thanks to the rise in popularity of the Swarovski brand, crystals are no longer just for costume jewelry. Crystal is the fusion of lead into glass which when cut and engraved into beads refracts light in the same manner as diamonds. They are also lightweight, making it easy to attach them to intricate and delicate necklaces. If you want to wear pearls for your wedding but don’t want to appear too “June Cleaver” by donning a matching choker, simple necklaces like this sparkling crystal necklace will mimic the pearl’s shape while adding a bit of cocktail glitz to the ensemble.

Noe’s Jewelry has a wide selection of pearl and sparkling crystal earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces. Stop by Noe’s for a consultation on what combination of accessories will help you celebrate the beautiful tradition of marriage with a modern twist.