leather necklace with white pearl tassel ($445)
Jewellery doesn’t get more classic than pearls. They were considered rare and prized possessions for ancient Chinese royalty and Hindu history says that it was Krishna himself that discovered the first pearl. Ancient Romans treasured them and every European royal posed with them. Of course, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly made them iconic. And Mikimoto made them as luxurious as diamonds. They just never get old.

British designers Rebecca & Penelope are putting their own modern twist on the iconic pearl. Mixing the highest quality cultured pearls with leather and chain and attaching them to a playful pearl tassel, these are definitely not your grandmother’s pearls.

I chatted with Rebecca Cabo, 1/2 of Rebecca & Penelope to find out when her love affair with pearls began and the inspiration behind the line.

What’s the story behind Rebecca & Penelope?

Rebecca & Penelope was started with the idea of “Cultured Pearls for Everyday”. For the past few decades the art of culturing pearls in freshwater lakes in mussels has been taken to a new level, with top pearls nearly indistinguishable from saltwater ones, cultured in oysters, and at a fraction of the price. Therefore, this was both a business opportunity as well as to create a brand about pearls with a twist, to showcase them in a modern way, to wear at all times, on all occasions and for all generations.

How did your love affair with pearls begin?

As far as I can remember I have always worn pearls: real, fake, round, baroque, single, or multi strands. Pearls have a subtle perfection, and make all my outfits look polished and complete.
the iconic Coco Chanel and her pearls
So many iconic fashion moments were created with pearls. I always refer to the legendary images of Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. Do you have a style icon in mind while you design?
I think my style icons are everyday people. I love looking at what everyone is wearing from children to teenagers, to men and women of all ages and all walks of life. Their sense of style and creativity is sometimes just beautiful.

Does your hometown of London inspire your designs?

London is always inspirational, it is a place where I can always feast my eyes. I’m very lucky to have been exposed to a variety of cultures and visual tastes, from European traditions, to indigenous Latin folklore, to American simplicity. I spent my childhood in Mexico City and my teenage and young adult life in Southern California.
Like a pearl, my inspiration is strength, individuality and perseverance to create something unique, excellent and long lasting.
chain necklace with white pearl tassel ($730)
“Simple, Beautiful, Timeless” and “Quality, Longevity, Heirloom” are your slogans. Can you tell us how you view the life of a pearl?
Pearls are simple and the closer you look at them the more beautiful they are. Some have the most amazing lustre, while others are full of colour and unusual shapes.

Pearls are timeless, they are one of nature’s rare creations. They have longevity, since they are the oldest precious gemstones know to man, and the only ones created by another living organism, an heirloom to keep forever. And I’m obsessed with quality so the jewellery has to be as perfect as the pearls.

How do you wear your pearls?

I wear my pearls all time! This summer I wore pieces from our tassel collection. A large tassel with white pearls on long black leather thongs, with t-shirts, jeans, skirts. And for evening and to dress up my outfits I wore the tassels on long strands of pearls.
This fall/winter, I’ll be wearing mostly plain pearls lots of long strands in different colours and sizes, with cashmere sweaters, skirts, dresses. For evenings and the festive season, I’ll be wearing pieces from the ribbon collection. I normally wear black for evening, so I’ll add a coloured ribbon and wear single and multi-strand pearls as a choker, letting the ribbon hang loosely down my back, very subtle and sexy.
GIVEAWAY: black pearl necklace with white pearl tassel ($830)
GIVEAWAY (open worldwide):

This gorgeous black pearl necklace with the adorable white pearl tassel valued at $830 can be yours. Tell me “What is your favourite pearl memory?” in the comments section below until Friday, November 26th at noon (PST). I know we all played with our grandmother’s pearls, we all at one moment fantasized of being Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and we all thought Madonna was badass when she wore them with a cross and a Star of David during Like a Virgin tour. You know you want them!


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