Trending: cotton pearls

There’s one thing that we noticed is very popular these days : pearls, pearls, pearls.  Preferably combined with some kind of heavy chain or anything else that will help avoid the matronly classic look.

Vogue has 7 examples of wearing pearls, the updated version. While I wouldn’t easily jump on the Givenchy wagon and wear them on my face (although they do look seriously bad ass), the Chanel resort look is absolutely to die for. After all Coco Chanel once said that ‘A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls’, so they do know their pearls.

collage pearls

Top: Givenchy Autumn-Winter 2015 , bottom Chanel Resort 2015

But if you’re going for the heavy multistrand pearl necklaces, there is a newly reinvented type of pearls that is light enough in weight to be perfect for such purposes. I’m talking about cotton pearls, which are made of pressed cotton and covered in pearl coating. So they’re light as cotton and hard enough for man-made pearls, but watch out not to dip them in too much water or the cotton might get soaked.

According to MiyabiGrace, a store specializing in cotton pearls jewelry from Japan, this type of pearls was all the rage in the Art Deco era, when the jewelry went by the rule ‘the more, the better, as long as it’s pearls’.


Doriane Showgirl Giclee Print, can be bought on

At some point around the ’40s-’50s, they also caught on in Japan. That’s why a simple Etsy search for cotton pearls returns lots of results in the vintage category from that period.

What’s interesting about cotton pearls is that in the second half of the 20th century, because they were no longer fashionable, even the craft of making them was more or less lost. Very recently, starting in 2009, cotton pearls came back into production, as our favorite Japanese company, Miyuki, managed to reinvent a production method.

miyuki cotton pearls

Miyuki cotton pearls

This month, when we visited Japan, they were literally everywhere. Even the smallest jewelry shop had some variation of jewelry that included cotton pearls. You can see from the picture that they have a very particular texture, very different from the smooth finish on a culture or glass pearl, so it’s easy to tell them apart.  Take for example this Beau Atout shop in Tokyo Station underground. DSC01869

Hanging from that big wheel are all cotton pearl necklaces. The 16mm cotton pearls are probably the chunkiest pieces of jewelry I’ve seen in miniature-loving Japan.

I haven’t seen them yet in Swedish shops yet, but no worries, we stoked up on them and we’ll have something on our shop soon.

So look forward to these new beads!