Gemstone Matchmaking: Diamonds & Pearls

Quiet luxury gets its jewellery counterpart in this sparkling pairing of natural diamonds and pearls.

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Timeless elegance - Diamonds & pearls together
When the full-bodied sparkle of diamonds meets the quiet lustre of pearls, the results are a balance of precision and grace. Images courtesy of: Viren Bhagat, © Sotheby’s; Liala; Sean Gilson for Assael; The Line

Is it possible to turn up the glamour on an already exceptional natural diamond? One way is to pair it with another natural gemstone. And in 2024 we suggest an eternal classic, the pearl. With pristine shades of white already touted by Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue as one of the key colours for 2024. And trends like #quietluxury taking over our Instagram feeds, it’s no surprise that the subtle, refined pairing of sparkling diamonds and lustrous pearls has taken centre stage.

Like any truly great relationship, their story has always fascinated us. Pearls, an iridescent gift from the depths of the ocean and natural diamonds, a jewel that emerges from the darkness of the earth. For Devaunshi Thackersay Mehta, creative director of Dia, “While diamonds bring brilliance and precision to designs, pearls offer fluid grace.” Natasha Khurana, creative director of The Line, is drawn to the contrast between the two. “I love the balance between the full-bodied shine of diamonds and the softer glow of pearls.” She adds, “They give each other that little something, without ever taking away from each other, as a perfect relationship would.” Cult-favourite designer Hanut Singh also feels the two are complementary. “The pearls have lunar light and the diamonds have starlight.” He points out that diamonds and pearls also sit together as part of the Navratna, the nine gemstones that are believed to hold sacred powers in Vedic astrology

The pearls have lunar light and the diamonds have starlight.

– Hanut Singh
Coco Chanel wearing a strand of pearl jewellery
Coco Chanel famously loved ropes of pearls. She said that fine jewellery needn’t be saved for special occasions, but could be worn casually as well.
Images courtesy of: Viren Bhagat, © 2012 Christie’s Images Limited; Carbon Affair

Spotted on the Feed

This year has seen some standout demonstrations of how you can wear the combination. During the Internet-breaking, pre-wedding festivities of her brother Anant Ambani in May 2024, modern day royal Isha Ambani Piramal chose a magnificent four-tier diamond and pearl necklace with matching earrings. Over the same star-studded weekend, actor Sonam Kapoor paired a pristine Anamika Khanna lehenga with an enviable necklace stack that included a traditional pearl, diamond and emerald choker.

Isha Ambani Piramal wearing a diamond and pearl necklace set
Modern diamond and pearl jewellery set for a special occasion

This year has seen some stellar demonstrations of how you can wear the trend. Modern day royal Isha Ambani Piramal chose a four-tier diamond and pearl necklace with matching earrings for her brother’s pre-wedding celebrations. On the right is a natural diamond and pearl Parure by Harry Winston. Images courtesy of: Isha Ambani: @anaitashroffadajania; © 2006 Christie’s Images Limited.

A Crown Jewel

Pearls and diamonds have both long been considered symbols of royalty and wealth. One of the largest and most famous pearls in the world, named La Peregrina, was owned by generations of Spanish royalty, until it was purchased by actor Richard Burton for his great love Elizabeth Taylor in 1969. A connoisseur of fine jewellery, Taylor commissioned Cartier to create a one-of-a-kind necklace of natural diamonds, pearls and rubies so that she could safely show off her new, historic acquisition. The British royal family still has some stellar examples of this regal gemstone coupling. Catherine, the Princess of Wales, or Kate Middleton, is frequently spotted in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. The elegant diadem features brilliant and rose-cut diamonds and 19 suspended pearls. It was also worn by Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. In India, the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was known for extravagant taste. That extended to jewellery and between 1925 and 1930 he commissioned Cartier to set a large number of stones from his collection into contemporary jewellery pieces. One of the results of this Indo-French collaboration was the Patiala Ruby Choker, a multilayered piece made of 292 ruby beads, 132 pearls and 60 diamonds set in platinum. Fast forward to today when Kim Kardashian, the ultimate figure of American royalty, wore an oversized diamond and pearl-edged choker to the Met Gala in 2023. The piece was an homage to Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic Chanel designer who was famous for his love of pearls.

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, or Kate Middleton, is frequently spotted in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. The elegant diadem features brilliant and rose-cut diamonds and 19 suspended pearls.”

Diamonds and pearls Gemstones symbolizing luxury
Pearls and diamonds are both considered symbols of royalty and wealth.
Images courtesy of: Khurana; La Peregrina,© 2011 Christie’s Images Limited

Building a Moodboard

Many of today’s designers look to history for inspiration. Talking about a pearl and diamond choker from Dia, Thackersay Mehta says that she was inspired by the Belle Époque and Mughal jewellery styles. Both periods characterised by, “opulent aesthetics, intricate craftsmanship, and a fusion of cultural influences.” Internationally-loved, New Delhi-based Hanut Singh’s elegant pearl and diamond earrings are reminiscent of Art Deco architecture and motifs. The same period also inspired the House of Rose. Says Karan Vaidya, VP Marketing & Retail Operations at the brand, “The jewellery pieces from that era have a certain modern world charm to it, even in the 1920s.” The results include tasselled earrings and necklaces with cascades of freshwater pearls and filigree designs embedded with diamonds.

For the 2023 Met Gala, Kim Kardashian paid homage to Karl Lagerfeld in a custom Schiaparelli dress made of 50,000 pearls. An oversized diamond and pearl choker completed her look. Images courtesy of: Khanna Jewellers; Dia Precious
Jewellery inspired by the Art Deco period can be identified by its architectural forms, ornamental details, and intricate craftsmanship. Images courtesy of: Hanut Singh; Assael

A Playground of Sparkle

But while the past serves as inspiration, today’s renditions of the trend are very much for now. Take The Line’s slinky diamond and pearl earrings that seamlessly transition from workwear to dinner dates. Dubai-based Khurana says, “I like old-world things that feel right now. So even when we do a super classic style like diamonds and pearls, I love the timeless romance of it, but I also want it to be able to live with me, in my lifestyle.” Pearls are a signature motif in the work of contemporary fine jewellery brand State Property. The Singaporean house’s understated, linear pieces are often built around a pearl which is then framed or embedded with diamond.

Diamond & pearl jewellery trends, contemporary designers
Contemporary designers showcase the many forms that this pairing can take. From pearls studded with diamonds to necklaces fringed with multi-coloured gems. Images courtesy of: H. Ajoomal; State Property; The Line

I like old-world things that feel right now. So even when we do a super classic style like diamonds and pearls, I love the timeless romance of it, but I also want it to be able to live with me, in my lifestyle.

Natasha Khurana

Many brands celebrate the diversity of pearls. From marble-sized Akoya pearls to miniscule seed pearls, they come in an infinite number of colours and shapes, just like natural diamonds. The Bubble collection by American brand Assael, spotlights pearls of various sizes, often clustered around a single magnificent diamond. Their toi et moi rings feature an emerald-cut diamond but come with two different kinds of pearls, a blush conch pearl or a milky South Sea pearl. Similarly the House of Rose works with Keshi pearls which have their own unique, irregular forms. Says Vaidya, “they’re so unusual, natural and full of character. When you pair them with diamonds, you get this incredible contrast that’s both striking and elegant.”

Even the men are getting in on the trend. For the premier of his film ‘bones and all’ (2022), timothée chalamet chose a vivienne westwood pearl choker with dainty diamond bones.

Timothee Chalamet wearing a pearl choker with diamond bone details

Image: Instagram: @tchalamet

The current renaissance in pearl and diamond jewellery design is a reflection of our current mood. Kartik Kartik, creative director of Khanna Jewellers sees, “a renewed appreciation for classic elegance and sophistication.” From Gen X to Gen Z, customers are increasingly looking for modern day heirlooms that “transcend generations”. So while trends may come and go, your diamond and pearl jewellery will forever be in style.

KAJ Fine Jewellery 

Entice

Liali

Khanna Jewellers

Dhamani 1969

Khurana Jewellery House

Studio Renn