Pick a pearl!


Few fashion items are as timeless or as versatile as pearls. Few faux gems look as good as simulated pearls. And few fashion trends could ask for a more ideal accessory.

Many high-fashion spring and summer looks include clothes with built-in pearl accessories. But one needn't break the bank to buy into the oyster-gem trend. Relatively inexpensive pearly looks include buttons, headbands, pearl-handled handbags, pearl-studded sunglasses and pearl-trimmed gloves.

If necklaces are your choice, think big. And long. And many. Earrings should swing. Bracelets mean at least three strands. Multiple strands should feature many bead sizes.

Also, allow us to remind you that pearls have a special place in terms of historical perspective:

* Silent film star Louise Brooks sported a single, very long strand of pearls as her trademark.

* French couturier Coco Chanel is credited with introducing the idea of mixing costume pearls with the real thing.

* First Lady Barbara Bush proudly wears a choker of Kenneth Jay Lane faux pearls.

* Cleopatra reportedly dissolved pearls in wine and fed it to Marc Antony as an aphrodisiac (kids, don't try this at home).

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