A classic piece of jewelry or investment watch is never more than an accessory, there is always a rich history behind it. In W’s new Rock Stars series, we explore what makes legacies past, present and future so unique.
In the early years, when the 16-year-olds were having their time, I was offered a string of pearls for my 16th birthday. Back then, pearls weren’t really my style, so I didn’t really imagine myself wearing the necklace. Still, it looked like such an appropriate, uniquely feminine gift, a symbol of a young woman coming of age. Since that day, the pearls have remained at the bottom of my jewelry box, but rarely crossed my mind. That is until a few years ago when I saw a cute guy in town wearing a similar bit.
Beads have appeared more frequently on men since 2019. ASAP Rocky has worn them and Harry Styles has almost made them a regular part of his wardrobe. My stylish male colleagues showed up at the pearl office, as did my friends’ various romantic interests. Once traditional and maybe even a little boring, pearls are now a staple of a cool, genderless wardrobe. A new way of playing with the contrasts of gender norms and traditions.
Of course, I never think of pearls without thinking of Mikimoto. The iconic Japanese brand founded in 1893 was the first in the world to create cultured pearls and has been synonymous with style ever since. For pearl lovers, Mikimoto is the holy grail, the pinnacle of elegance and always ahead of industry trends and innovation.
With its latest collection, PASSIONOIR, Mikimoto is shaking up tradition. In a series of campaign videos, shot entirely on men (specifically a skater, boxer, chef and BMX cyclist, to name a few), the pearl jewelry, all in shades of black, are presented in a new light. “We always seek to maintain the importance and relevance of Mikimoto’s pearl jewelry designs regardless of age and gender,” Mikimoto CEO Yasuhiko Hashimoto told me. “Our vision with PASSIONOIR was to express this passion through new designs inspired by the chemical reaction brought by the strong contrast between the innocent beauty of pearls, combined with the powerful and mysterious black color, further pursuing the possibility of pearls.”
The jewelry itself certainly lives up to its stated mission, pushing pearls to newer, even cooler heights, mixing them with chains and geometric metals. My favorite piece is a black South Sea cultured pearl ear cuff, which would look great on anyone, whether male, female, or gender nonconforming. . You can purchase the full collection at mikimoto.com and watch campaign videos here.