Expert Pearl Advice: Tara Horn

For Tara Horn, pearls are a family affair. Her father and grandfather were both in the pearl business in New York City’s diamond district, and at a young age, she learned how to count diamonds and make pearl earrings.

Together with her father, Horn recently launched Pearl & Clasp, a website dedicated to helping clients find or create the perfect pearl jewelry. Below, Horn shares with us her expertise.


WI.NET: Why do you think pearls are so popular with brides

Expert Pearl Advice: Tara HornHorn: Most brides enjoy wearing jewelry that is regal, elegant and luxurious. Pearls have been documented historically on the necks of queens since the 1500s in France and England, and in modern times they have been worn by powerful women such as Jackie O and Michelle Obama, as well as glamorous movie stars. For this reason alone, it’s not surprising that brides have always viewed pearls as an ideal wedding accessory.

But personally, I think there’s another reason why pearls are popular with brides, and that is because their classic creamy color complements the traditional hues of a wedding gown. Pearls also create a look that is classy without being too bold, so that the bride can shine in her own way without being overpowered by her jewelry.

What determines the value of a pearl

A pearl’s value is based upon several factors, including the type of pearl, its size and its quality. Pearls are generally graded on a scale from A, being the lowest quality, to AAA which is the highest quality of pearls. Larger pearls are more expensive than smaller ones because they are rarer and more difficult to match up when crafting the jewelry.

Expert Pearl Advice: Tara HornAlthough both Akoya pearls and freshwater pearls share a similar round shape, Akoya pearls are significantly more expensive because the mollusks which create these pearls live in areas with typhoons, and there is a low nucleation rate per mollusk. The combination of these factors means that there are fewer Akoya pearls available than there are freshwater pearls, so they are more costly. Likewise, Tahitian pearls, also known as black pearls, are quite rare, and they are therefore quite valuable.

What are some of the latest bridal pearl trends

Some brides favor ornate pearl jewelry, but most of the brides that we encounter seem to prefer a classic, understated look such as a single strand with an eye-catching clasp, or a necklace and pearl set in a single or double-strand. Pearl studs are also extremely popular among brides because they keep the ears adorned without distracting from the bridal headpiece or hairstyle.

Tell us about pearl restringing and why brides should consider it.

Expert Pearl Advice: Tara HornPearl restringing is the process of detaching the pearls from their current strand and reattaching them on a newer thread. The benefits of this are twofold. First, older strands of pearls become weakened over time, and restringing the pearls ensures that they will remain secure each time they are worn. Pearl restringing also allows the pearl owner to take an existing strand of pearls and transform it into an entirely new look. This process appeals to many people who cherish the idea of their heirloom pearls but don’t enjoy the way they look. In cases like these, the pearl owner can wear grandma’s pearls in a style that they’ll truly love.

What are some other ways to transform pearls

Pearls can be changed in pretty much any way imaginable. We’ve turned necklaces into bracelets, bracelets into necklaces, earrings into rings – there’s always the option to add pearls or to remove pearls so that you can achieve exactly the look you want. You can also add a new clasp that can be worn in the front of your necklace, which will really change the piece.

What is one thing most people don’t know about pearl jewelry

Expert Pearl Advice: Tara HornThe thing that people are usually surprised to find out is that while a quality strand of pearls is really gorgeous, it’s often the clasp or the accessories that truly make the piece stand out.  Most women are surprised to find themselves attracted more to the clasps than to the higher quality pearls.

Is there anything else you would like people to know

When creating the style for her wedding day, the bride should think not only about the big day, but also about her future. The right bridal pearl necklace can be worn time and again and can be treasured as an integral part of a woman’s jewelry repertoire. A bride won’t likely wear her wedding gown again, but there’s no reason why she can’t relive the magic of her wedding day by wearing pearl bridal jewelry that she’ll want to wear for the rest of her life.

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