Pearls have been an important part of the fashion scene for hundreds of years, but while the typical pearl lover may not have the wherewithal to have pearls sewn on all her clothing like Queen Elizabeth I, she'll be proud to wear her new pearls for just about any occasion.

Women love the versatility of cultured pearl jewelry. The fashion statement can be as casual as a toggle-clasp bracelet worn with a pair of favorite jeans or as dressy as a pair of filigree dangling earrings worn with a strapless cocktail dress. Women also appreciate that many pearl jewelry styles may be worn in a variety of ways.

Consider a simple 72-inch freshwater cultured pearl rope that can be worn knotted, layered or twisted. Another perfect solution for all types of outfits is the stylish lariat necklace that can be shortened or lengthened according to the neckline of the outfit. Because of their inherent femininity, pearls look the freshest when they are combined with industrial-type hardware, such as toggles, fishhooks and chain. Good choices as wardrobe staples are earring-and-pendant combinations, pieces that can be worn together or separately.

Lustrous white South Sea pearls with the unique natural circle design combined with a romantic gold fleur-de-lis are sure fashion winners. Tahitian pearls, grown in black-lipped oysters, come in a wide range of natural colors, from gray and black to peacock and purple, and contrast well with either white or yellow gold settings. Chinese freshwater pearls are one of the hottest fashion categories right now because they are available as rounds, teardrops or a variety of fancy shapes. They also boast very reasonable prices. A wear-with-everything pair of drop earrings in a 8mm-to-9mm size is so popularly priced that it can be a thoughtful gift for a new graduate, a dear friend or even oneself.

The elegance and practicality of cultured pearls make them a natural choice for accenting this season's fashions. The ruffles, pleats and floral prints shown on both sides of the Atlantic indicate a soft, feminine style for spring. Prada chose Art Nouveau prints, Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren went for ruffles and Balenciaga created an hourglass figure. What better clothing styles to complement and coordinate with pearls of all colors and shapes? Queen Elizabeth I would have been beaming.