Coco Chanel revolutionised the costume jewellery industry introducing the concept of faux pearls and making them fashionable in times when fake jewellery was still considered an inferior substitute to the real gems. To this day, Chanel pearls continue to capture imagination of many fashionistas who can choose from a multitude of designs including long and short strings, single or multiple rows, as well as bold and demure designs which can be selected to suit individual style.

While I have always admired the elegance of Chanel pearls and secretly longed for them, for a long time the pragmatic side of me could not rationalise spending that amount of money on faux pearls. Realising that the Chanel piece was equal in value or even exceeded the price of genuine pearls, the decision to commit to a purchase seemed utterly illogical. However, endlessly taunted by the sight of other women proudly wearing their Chanel pearls, the jealously took better of me and, eventually, I caved in. ย 

But that was not the end of it. Once I finally made the decision to buy the first string of Chanel pearls, the next step was to select the right ones. What I was not expecting was the sheer volume of style choices. Chanel website only features the seasonal options so for anyone thinking of their first strand, I would strongly recommend visiting the local boutique to view the available offer rather than being guided by what is presented by the store online.

Also, be prepared to be surprised. Although my mind was firmly set on buying the long strand first, yet I left the shop with the short, double row version. It is only when you start trying them on, you will be able to find your ultimate style match and it may not be what you have envisaged. Unsurprisingly, sometime later I also bought the longer strand, as I just could not resist them.

I suspect there may be many others who are going through similar motions mulling over whether to invest in the first strand of Chanel faux pearls. This is why I wanted to write this review which, hopefully, will be constructive to anyone who is thinking of the purchase but would like to have a better understanding of the pros and cons of this fabulous costume jewellery.

Short Chanel pearls side view

Aesthetics

For my first ever Chanel pearl necklace, I chose a short, double-row string. I always liked to wear pearls with my work dresses so I had no doubts that the short version would get significant use that way. Initially, while in the store, I was looking at the single string option which was stunning but, in the end, I chose the double version which had a slightly more formal edge.

The band I chose was a crystal CC logo necklace made of double row of faux pearls in two different sizes. The string measures 46cm including the lobster clasp and sits on a thread knots in between each pearl. The crystal CC motif is encrusted on one side only. The necklace also features crystal-adorned rectangular shapes binding the two rows of pearls together, and to which the closing mechanism is attached. The clasp is finished with a small CC detail and has an authenticity stamp.

For my second necklace, I chose a crystal CC logo pearls measuring 105 cm in length. It is a single string featuring 5 crystal CC motifs, encrusted on both sides (3 large and 2 small). The necklace contains faux pearls in 3 sizes joined by silver-tone links (43 pearls in total including the one attached to the end clasp). The clasp has a small authenticity stamp.

In terms of presentation, each necklace came in a black box lined with a fabric pouch with clasps which hold the necklace in place, accompanied by a care booklet. [Back to Menu]

Short necklace right side view

Quality

Although some necklaces sold by Chanel contain cultured freshwater pearls, most of their costume jewellery is made of coated glass so the pearls are not the real thing. However, as far as faux jewellery is concerned, they are a high-quality product with a beautiful, shiny finish. They wear really well and, so far, I have observed no scratching or discolouration to the surface of the pearls albeit I have worn them only for a few years.

I also make sure that they are always stored in a box to protect them from nicks and scuffs when not in use. The only thing I have noticed is that the metal on the short version has been changing its colour over time so the golden undertones are now more prominent. [Back to Menu]

Chanel pearls

How to care for Chanel Pearls?

Chanel pearls are a luxurious but delicate product which needs to be handled with care to help it maintain that immaculate look for as long as possible. This means staying away from perfumes, make-up or body lotions, or at least not applying them in areas where the skin comes in contact with the necklace because the chemicals contained therein are likely to damage and discolour the pearls’ surface. It is also best to avoid water and high temperatures so anyone thinking of dressing up their beach attire with Chanel costume jewellery may want to think twice, unless money is no object. Any contact with corrosive substances is a big no-no, obviously.

In addition, if you like piling on your pearls to recreate that Coco Chanel look, be mindful that the pearls will be more susceptible to scratches and chips if they continuously bang or rub against other hard surfaces. This is due to the fact that Chanel pearls are made of coated glass. While it may be possible to have some chips repaired, they will need to be sent off to a Chanel jewellery workshop for assessment first which can be organised via a local boutique. The cost of restoration varies and it will be provided once the jewellery experts had the chance to assess the damage.

How to clean your Chanel pearls? Definitely stay away from any harsh cleaning materials, detergent, chemicals or even water and soap. To prolong the life of this gorgeous jewellery, they should be regularly rubbed with dry, soft cloth which should also help to preserve their shine. It is also a good idea to keep them stored in a box e.g. inside the pouch provided by Chanel. However, the condition of the pouch should be regularly checked because, according to some reviews, the fabric disintegrates over time and may start sticking to the pearls causing damage.

If you choose a string of pearls on a thread, as opposed to joined by metal links, there is also the risk that the thread will weaken over time and break. If this happens, it is best to visit the local Chanel boutique which should offer options for re-threading the pearls. [Back to Menu]

Long necklace close up

The Pros of Chanel Pearls

Starting with the pros, there is no denying that Chanel pearls, whether short or long, ooze sophistication and can instantly refine any outfit. They are a timeless piece which will never go out of style and suits everyone They pearls come in many different varieties, finishes, shades and lengths so there is always something to choose from, even for those who find the classic, single short string look too conservative.

The biggest draw of the short pearls is, in my opinion, their understated elegance and ultimate classic look whether you choose the single or double row option.

For longer strings, it is their versatility. They can be styled multiple ways i.e. as a long necklace, as a double-up or as a choker. They are also adaptable to many different looks, not only elegant but also smart casual, and can be easily worn with gowns as well as jeans, trainers or Chanel espadrilles, if properly styled. Furthermore, the longer pearls come in many different varieties and colours depending on season and are, overall, more edgy than the short option. [Back to Menu]

Short Chanel pearls with white Gucci bag

The Cons of Chanel Pearls

Are there any cons of this luxurious item? Wellโ€ฆ they are expensive for a piece costume jewellery. With the average price tag ofย  ยฃ1200 for the long version and around ยฃ600 for the short ones, there is a lot more that can be bought for that amount of money, even real pearls. But no one does pearls like Chanel, even if they are faux, glass pearls.

Other things to be aware of is that, overtime, the pearls will be susceptible to wear and tear including discolouration, chips, scratches, the loss of crystals or even the ripping of the thread (where there is one) so being disciplined with a proper care regime is a key. Although Chanel boutiques can assist with some restoration services, looking after the necklace and avoiding stress factors will contribute to their longevity.

Regarding the longer version specifically, care needs to be taken to ensure they do not get pulled and ripped because they are more predisposed to that through their length. Another aspect to bear in mind is that not every version of long pearls is suitable for tying the knot, for example like the one with metal links which I own, so the design has to be considered in the context of how a person intends to wear them. When I was in the Chanel store, I also noticed that some longer versions did not โ€œsitโ€ well on my chest and they were siding to the middle or to the side. Therefore, I would always recommend trying them on before buying to see that they complement your body shape.

There are also certain aspects of the short Chanel pearls which should be considered prior to making a purchase. Firstly, they are more classic in their appearance so less suitable for the smart causal look, and thus less versatile than the longer string. They can only be worn one way and it is not possible to adjust the length substantially other than by means of the lobster clasp.

Additionally, if the short string features only one-sided crystal encrusted CC logo motif, the motif may occasionally flip with movement to the plain side which is not a major issue, but the encrusted side is naturally more aesthetically pleasing. Lastly, for anyone opting for the double-row necklace, the dual rows can sometimes get twisted when worn so it is best to keep an eye on them to ensure they are positioned straight (this will not be the case with the single row string). [Back to Menu]

Short necklace close up with blue overalls

Good investment?

As one of the most recognisable, classic accessories, Chanel pearls have become an absolute wardrobe must-have. Their timeless elegance adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to any outfit and, thanks to the vast pool of designs and lengths, they can complement many different styles and looks. They are also very easy to fall in love with and the first string inadvertently will leave you craving for more.

Admittedly, for a faux costume jewellery which requires a lot of TLC they are eye wateringly expensive. However, other than the price it is difficult to find a reason not to invest in them. And they are a good investment. Looking at the price of vintage pieces sold on platforms such as Vestiaire, it is apparent that even the second-hand pearls are still worth hundreds of pounds, not far off the current retail price. Therefore, while costly, they are a lifetime fashion investment which will never age and, with appropriate level of care, can be loved and enjoyed for decades, and will make excellent heirloom ๐Ÿ˜‰. ย Overall verdict: Lifetime investment [Back to Menu]

Photos by Badiu Photography and Unwrapped

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