The ‘pearlcore’ trend is all about putting a modern spin on a classic jewelry staple

The "Mixed Pearl Satellite" necklace available at Drip Jewelry. Photo courtesy Drip Jewelry.

After years of being reserved for Sundays, charity dinners and debutante balls, pearls are finding a new life. Celebrities like Harry Styles and A$AP Rocky are bringing a fresh take on the gemstone to the streets, and modern updates and playful layering are making this classic style feel anything but stuffy.

The “Drop in the Ocean” necklace, available at Drip Jewelry. Photo courtesy Drip Jewelry.

Alana Kendall Voorhies, owner of Drip Jewelry by AK, has been making the craze her own. Her styles are creative, trendy and even a little edgy, so pearls weren’t always her go-to.

“I used to think pearls were so boring,” she says. “Now, I love being able to incorporate them in a way that makes them cool. My mom has even given me her old pearl necklaces to remake into a new design.”

Voorhies has dozens of pearl designs for sale at Drip, from pendulous and minimalistic “Wrecking Ball” earrings to her dual-chain “Drop in the Ocean” necklace. Rather than reaching for the perfect, symmetrical gemstones typically seen in strands, she prefers freshwater pearls with irregular borders and more color variation.

“The ones I actually like more are the ones with imperfections that are kind of misshapen,” she says. “They’re really not very expensive, so they’re much easier to incorporate into all different designs. You can sell them affordably, as opposed to the $300 strand of pearls they used to be.”

If you already own a classic string of pearls and want to incorporate it into your look in a fresh way, Voorhies recommends layering. For a timeless stack, she suggests a tighter strand of pearls, a simple gold chain underneath, and a pendant or medallion to top it off.

“The stack is definitely not a typical Southern, girly, classy look, but it still uses a classy piece that I style with an edgier vibe,” she says.

The main takeaway from this trend is to take something classic and make it your own. Voorhies says one of the best parts of pearls is their versatility—a white gemstone pops on anyone’s skin tone, and acts as the perfect blank slate to layer and mix to your heart’s content.


See how inRegister incorporated stunning pearls from local jewelry stores into a style shoot for the magazine’s pearl anniversary in this feature from the archives.