Senator Harris has been fond of pearls since she was a child; they are a staple in her wardrobe. In her memoir, We Hold These Truths: An American Journey, she recounts being given a pearl necklace by one of her mother’s mentor, a gentleman named Howard:
“When I was a girl, he gave me a pearl necklace that he’d brought back from a trip to Japan. (Pearls have been one of my favorite forms of jewelry ever since!)”
She proudly wears a single-strand pearl necklace and drop earrings in her 1986 graduation picture from Howard University, where she was part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. AKA—the first Black Greek-letter sorority—has a legendary story in which they refer to their founding members and incorporators as the “Twenty Pearls.” Each new member is given a special badge decorated with 20 pearls upon initiation.
“Pearls represent refinement and wisdom,” said Glenda Glover, international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha and president of Tennessee State University. “We train young ladies to be leaders and to make sure they have the wisdom to lead…and that goes hand in hand with the true meaning of what Alpha Kappa Alpha is all about.”
Below, Ms. Harris in her Howard University senior photo.
More thoughts from Ms. Glover via Shelby Copeland’s story for Oprah Magazine.
In a statement in August, International President Dr. Glenda Glover recognized Harris for her nomination as a vice presidential candidate. “Americans, including little Black and Brown girls, watched with amazement, pride and a renewed sense of hope. We congratulate Senator Harris and wish her the best on this historic journey.”
Another frequently seen necklace, the single strand of black pearls worn in January 2017 when Ms. Harris was sworn in as a United States Senator by Joe Biden.
Here you see her wearing the necklace with the matching earrings (see inset below left) at an event promoting her book, Superheroes are Everywhere.
Below, Ms. Harris wearing a double strand Irene Neuwirth necklace as gives her formal acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in August.
The necklace is from the California jeweler’s Gumball Fine Jewelry Collection, made with 18K yellow gold links and alternating Akoya and South Sea pearls. Below, an 18″ version of the necklace ($11,480).
Ms. Harris chose another Irene Neuwirth design for the Vice Presidential debate in early October, a delicate gold link chain featuring pearls with small turquoise stones attached. I do not know a style name for the necklace; it may be a bespoke piece made just for the Senator.
Below, the Irene Neuwirth Pearl Link Necklace ($26440) from the Pearl Collection; the piece is described as “a refined necklace of pearls, each set in its very own 18k yellow gold cup complimented with a diminutive turquoise cabochon.”
In this photo dating back to 2010, you see Ms. Harris with the two-strand necklaces, as well as her mabe pearl earrings.
The mabe earrings are a go-to item for the Senator, seen frequently.
In this image, you see Senator Harris wearing the necklace at the 2012 Democratic Convention with Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Ms. Harris has a set of golden South Sea pearls with matching earrings as seen in this photo with husband Doug Emhoff.
More recently, for President Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress in April 2021, the Vice President wore a geometric-style gold necklace with a pearl at each of the ends (see inset in the photo below) and matching earrings.
This is not a full list of the Senator’s pearl jewelry, I will continue adding to it going forward. And if you know of any I’ve missed, feel free to email Susan@WhatKamalaWore.com!