Pearls can get a bad rep for being old-fashioned. Simply the mention of them and you’re likely imagining a single strand worn by your grandmother. As of late, however, pearl engagement rings have become modernized in a way that makes them incredibly cool and chicer than ever. Considering how everything in fashion comes back again, pearls endure through the ebbs and flows of trends, making them the perfect candidate for an engagement ring that is both timeless yet modern and, most importantly, one-of-a-kind.
Classic and elegant, pearls are considered “the Queen of gems” and the oldest known gem worn as jewelry by a Persian princess, dating back to around 520 B.C. How’s that for timeless? They’re synonymous with beauty and purity, and many of them are incredibly rare. If you’re considering a pearl engagement ring, you’ll need to be privy to the various types on the market.
Natural pearls are extremely rare and incredibly costly—don’t expect to find one that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. Many are already harvested, so prepare for a diligent search. More commonly, there are cultured pearls which are grown in pearl farms, saltwater pearls like the Akoya pearl which are grown in Japanese and Chinese waters, freshwater pearls which are grown in, yep, you guessed it, freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds (predominately in China), and imitation pearls which are typically a coated glass bead. It’s also important to realize that, while pearls are often round and bead-like, not all come this way. Some pearls are pear-shaped or misshapen (known as baroque pearls), which make for pieces of jewelry that are anything but cookie-cutter.
There are a myriad of pearl engagement rings on the market with options ranging from super simple to diamond-adorned to contemporary. If you’re already considering a pearl engagement ring, we figure something less than standard is up your alley in terms of design, like a conceptual trio of cultured pearls inlaid with glistening diamonds on a yellow gold band. More of a traditionalist? Consider a cultured Akoya pearl with a diamond halo set on a diamond white gold band. Simply gorgeous.
If you think a pearl engagement ring is for you, peruse our edit of 14 styles ahead. There’s bound to be one suited to your style and budget. Get inspired.
Button Cultured Freshwater Pearl and Diamond Accent Ring in Sterling Silver
SHOP NOW: Zales, was $$99, now $74.25
Cultured Freshwater Pearl and Diamond Accent Ring in 14K White Gold
SHOP NOW: Zales, $711.75 from $949
14K White Gold Diamond And Pearl Spiral Ring
SHOP NOW: Anne Sisteron, $890
Delfina Delettrez Pearl Piercing Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Farfetch, $930
John Hardy Bamboo Pearl 18K Gold Ring with Diamonds
SHOP NOW: Neiman Marcus, $3,200
Baroque Matelassé Ring
SHOP NOW: Chanel, $11,400
Cultured Pearl Diamond Band Ring 14 Karat Yellow Gold Fine Jewelry
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $475
Cultured Freshwater Pearl and Diamond Double Frame Ring in 10K White Gold
SHOP NOW: Zales, was $99, now $74.25
Cultured Freshwater Pearl
SHOP NOW: Zales, was $499, now $374.25
Diamond and Pearl Open Ring Yellow Gold
SHOP NOW: J. Luu, $475
French Antique Pearl and Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $7,747.81
Prive White Pearl and Pave Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Jemma Wynne, $2,835