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Modernising the pearl narrative

19 August 2019

By Bernardette Sto. Domingo   

German pearl specialist Yana Nesper is transforming pearl jewellery into more fashion-forward, design-driven pieces that resonate further with today’s sophisticated luxury consumers.


Yana Nesper's vast collection of pearl jewellery pieces is a testament to her boundless creativity and dedication to giving the pearl an edgier, more contemporary image. Nesper sat down with JNA to talk about her design philosophy.

What kind of pearls do you use in your jewellery?

We use all kinds of cultured pearls, from Australian South Sea to Tahitian and Japanese Akoya pearls in rounds and fancy shapes. Some freshwater pearls also figure in our collections. We complement the designs with diamonds, and coloured gemstones like citrine, amethyst or blue topaz. All pieces are in 18-karat white or yellow gold.

What makes your designs exceptional?

What's special about our brand is we don't only sell products; we also provide our clients with the story behind the pearls as well as display and packaging materials, and marketing images.

Pearls are becoming more fashionable and trendy now. We need to educate the market about this and show buyers that pearls can be worn in a very modern, stylish and fashionable way.

Pearls have always had this image problem that they are for a more mature audience and that the pearl's overall look is conservative and outdated. That is no longer the case.

Cutting-edge designs that include using pearls in combination with diamonds and coloured gemstones, as well as different ways to wear the jewellery such as layering, or asymmetric styles, are paving the way for pearls to become mainstream jewellery products.

Please tell us about your modern pearl collections.

There are bright and colourful collections that feature coloured gemstone cabochons with South Sea or Tahitian pearls. For instance, we've paired Tahitian pearls with green amethysts and the colours harmoniously complemented each other. These pieces were positively received by consumers.

Another collection features the revival of chunky gold chains, which were a hit in the 80s. We've combined the chains with South Sea pearls to give them a different appeal. These necklaces are perfect for layering and would look good with leather jacket or jeans.

We likewise have a selection of Tahitian and South Sea pearl pieces combined with white gold and diamond-cut elements.

Japanese Akoya pearls are also highly favoured in the pearl jewellery sector. These pearls have a very classic appeal but we play around with it to make it more contemporary.

How do you plan to capture the hearts of younger, design-savvy consumers?

We recently collaborated with a fashion designer from Munich for the Berlin Fashion Week and her models wore our pearl jewellery pieces on the runway. The feedback was very encouraging. This is another direction we are taking; collaborating with other sectors, particularly the fashion industry, has become inevitable.

Putting these two worlds together brings about vast opportunities. Very few in the jewellery world are doing this at the moment. Our jewellery pieces have to be worn, styled and combined with a look and what better way to showcase that than in the fashion runway?