The Origin of the Tin Cup Pearl Necklace

Spey® Insights: The Origin of the Tin Cup Pearl Necklace

Pearls are often associated with leading ladies and classic stars of the cinema, but it isn’t every day that an individual pearl necklace takes on a fame of its own. Then again, the 90s were years of many firsts. Headlined by actors Kevin Costner and Rene Russo, the undisputed third star of the 1996 romantic comedy Tin Cup was the pearl necklace Ms. Russo wore throughout much of the film. After the premiere, demand for the necklace blossomed and its design echoed by jewelers the world over. Today, that style still bears the name of its theatrical debut: the tin cup pearl necklace.

Also called a floating or station necklace, the intelligent, polished and controlled design of the tin cup pearl necklace perfectly emulates the relaxed confidence of Ms. Russo’s character in the movie. Her necklace features lustrous white 7-8mm akoya pearls “floating” at even intervals on a fine silk thread. Jewelry designer and stylist Wendy Brigode crafted the necklace just for the film, but in the following months and years the tin cup pearl necklace became a fashion and jewelry box staple for many a young lady and stylish woman.

The key to the tin cup pearl necklace is the additional length of silk or chain separating each pearl. Traditional pearl strands feature tight silk knots that abut closely to both adjoining pearls, thus keeping the necklace secure and the pearls from abrasion. But the tin cup pearl necklace gives pearls their breathing room and the result is breathtakingly refreshing – a pearl necklace that has all of the refinement and elegance of a strand, together with the airy nonchalance of a chain. Gold, silver, silk, and even leather have all been used to bind the pearls together in a tin cup pearl necklace. Diamonds or other precious stones may even be peppered throughout for added interest and brilliance.

The look has remained popular ever since, making countless appearances from the supermarket to the red carpet during these last 20 years. The classic flair and versatility of the tin cup pearl necklace makes it a favorite gift item. Thinking about adding one to your wardrobe? Consider the richly lustrous Spey tin cup pearl necklace featuring Tahitian pearls with aubergine orient suspended like planets in orbit between white gold and diamonds. As Ms. Brigode mused following the necklace’s rise to fame, “I don’t think it’s ever going to stop being popular…it looks good on everybody.”