The Back Story on the TikTok Necklace

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Pearls have been a fashion favorite for a couple of years now, fueled by online images of Harry Styles, Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa and others draped in the gems.

Pearl earrings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, headbands, even ankle bracelets are all in demand, but the real stand out is Vivienne Westwood’s three-strand pearl choker. It has appeared so many times on TikTok, worn by so many stars and influencers, that “it’s actually called the TikTok Necklace,” said Jessica Richards, a trend forecaster and founder of JMR Design Consulting in New York.

The choker has a total of 92 glass-based vegan pearls from Swarovski, strung and knotted by hand, and featuring Westwood’s signature orb logo in brass with either a silver or a gold tone. It sells for $590 on the designer’s website or in Vivienne Westwood stores.

Ms. Westwood first showed pearls in her fall 1987 women’s collection, called Harris Tweed — even on some of the men on her runway. She then returned to pearls, including the three-row choker, in her fall 1990 collection, Portrait.

But then, the designer said in a recent email, pearl jewelry “could fit in with practically any period and it would look right.”

As Andreas Kronthaler, Ms. Westwood’s husband and the brand’s creative director, wrote in a separate email: “There’s nothing more flattering than pearls. They play with the whites of your eyes and teeth; pearls really talk to you. And they work on everybody — from young to old, women and men, everyone.”

Observers emphasize the subversive side of Ms. Westwood’s pearl play. “Pearls have been cloaked in the taint of conventional, traditional style,” said Marion Fasel, founder of the online jewelry magazine The Adventurine — so, considering Ms. Westwood’s lifelong efforts to upend the stodgy, it was only right that she would “not just twist a classic, but turn it on its head.”

“Wear it with anything, with sweatpants,” Ms. Fasel said of the choker, “but nothing prim. If you’re wearing it with anything appropriate, you’re wearing it wrong.”

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