If you could only have five pieces, what would they be and why?

Pomelo

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May 3, 2024
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Hello all, I’m inspired by your beautiful collections and am fighting hard not to buy everything I see!

However, I’m curious to know: if you could only keep five pieces, what would they be and why?

Bonus question (as I’m at the start of my pearly journey): if you could start your pearl collections again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Here are the 8.4-11mm baroque Tahitians that kickstarted this pearly obsession…

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Thank goodness we don't have to limit ourselves to 5! I can't pick just 5 but I'll answer the spirit of the question-- which in a way is the answer to both questions.

Shapes:
For necklaces, I prefer my baroque shaped pearls (or drops, or near rounds) over my round ones.
For earrings I prefer round studs, or drop shaped dangles.
I don't really wear pearl bracelets or rings. They annoy me, and my typical household activities aren't good for them anyway.
Sizes: I used to buy smaller pearls. That was what I could afford years ago when I began buying pearls. . But I prefer larger ones.
Colored pearls:
I prefer my Tahitian / Fijian and Golden SS colors over my pearls having the typical FW colors (peach, lavender etc.)
I prefer natural colors over dyed pearls.
I usually prefer colored pearls over whites; I wear my Tahitians and GSS more often.
Whites: I prefer cool whites (like my SSP and one strand I have of white FW keshi) over warmer whites (including my metallic white FWP)
I don't like the way cream colored pearls look on my skin.
Luster: Does it need to be said? I prefer my more lustrous pearls over the ones with lower luster.

Life is a journey, so it's fine to learn what we like more/less by trial and error along the way. Our tastes evolve, too. And the industry evolves.
Back when I received my first pearl necklace (little Biwa pearls, in 1980) there were no round freshwater pearls. No naturally colored baroque akoyas. No Edison pearls. No Internet. Tahitians were extremely expensive. I could not have afforded akoyas.

I don't regret the things I bought early on, because that was what was available then, and what I could afford, and what appealed to me. Now it may appeal to me less but I had a lot of pleasure wearing those items back then.

I do think that it's usually a mistake for new pearl collectors to buy a lot of new pieces over a short period of time. It's too easy to end up with a lot of similar items-- or to buy pieces one is settling for rather than what one really wants.

I also have found that for me, serendipity figured highly in the pearls I've acquired. When a piece came along that grabbed me, I jumped. It has taken decades to accumulate the pearls I have. Life is long (hopefully) so give yourself time.
 
Wow, the answer to this question depends on what day it is.

Years ago, I would have said a 36" rope of 8mm white akoyas, and matching pearl studs. And a choker of white akoyas. And a 3 strand dog collar with an interesting clasp, because I was a huge Princess Diana fan.

Today, it's long ropes of mismatched pearls, tin cups, shorter strands of Wilma Flintstone sized pearls, drop shaped pendants worn on necklaces and earrings, and 9 to 10 mm studs. The more intense the natural colors the better. Baroques and circles look more real to me, so now I prefer them over perfectly round pearls. Unique pearls. One of a kind.

I've sold some pieces I bought early on, because I inherited my mother's pieces, and hers were nicer, but exactly the same style.

PSS (pearl shrinkage syndrome) is real. I cannot get my pearls big enough now. But I don't think these big pearls would have suited me 40 years ago when I started buying pearls. I was younger and skinnier and smaller pearls were all that was available then, and they looked good on me.

If I could only keep 5 pieces, I'd have to pick my most expensive pieces. My natural white Hanadama rope from PP, 2019 All Josh Harvest strand from Kamoka, Eclipse Edison necklace from PP, My Mikimoto huggie earrings, and my 3 strand former dog collar, that now sits at the base of my neck like a choker.

But then I'd have to give up my pistachios, and BBAs, and Tahitians, and Kasumi pearls. So, that's not going to happen.
 
That’s a beautiful strand of Tahitians to start your collection, Pomelo!

I’m afraid my answer will be long-winded and not very direct.:rolleyes: My collection is more by eras. I did a little walk down memory lane and took a pic of the jewelry I wore through some of HS, all of college, and several years after. I was petite, not too much into jewelry, and I only liked very tiny specks of jewelry. I wore rings daily, and now I wear rings the least. Here’s a pic of what I wore everyday and rarely switched out. Most of my jewelry were gifts.
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Fast forward to pearls… although I grew up with Akoya pearls, my first real collection purchase was a Tahitian pendant from PP. The original Traveling Pearl that Bunny wears. I wore it daily for years. My first purchases were mostly pendants, which worked well for me because they were practical for work and not as expensive as strands. From there, most my other purchases were just by opportunity, something I saw and liked, not something I sought out. I think that has always kept me really happy with what I have because I’ve had such incredible opportunities. I’m not much of a bigger pearl person. I have a few large strands, but I prefer to stay a little smaller and layer if I want a bigger look. My favorite pearl is the Tahitian, although I love all pearls in all shapes and colors. The one color I have steered from is the pistachio, which is a sought after color for many in the US. I like it in mult-colored strands or in smaller doses, but a full strand is not the most flattering color for me. I think we are automatically drawn to colors that suit us.

As for the 5 keepers… impossible to decide. I would be able to eliminate rings, earrings I would probably choose studs over dangles, bracelets I would probably choose tin cups over strands, but necklaces I would not be able to choose a type.

Short version, get what you love and you know you will wear. We all have different preferences and styles that also can change with age. AND welcome to the pearl world! Wishing you an incredible journey!!!
 
That’s a beautiful strand of Tahitians to start your collection, Pomelo!
Not only the strand is beautiful, but the eye of the owner is apparent in the photography. Such a good eye portends well for future acquisitions! Commendation to Pomelo for this very refreshing opportunity to reflect.
 
Thank goodness we don't have to limit ourselves to 5! I can't pick just 5 but I'll answer the spirit of the question-- which in a way is the answer to both questions.

Shapes:
For necklaces, I prefer my baroque shaped pearls (or drops, or near rounds) over my round ones.
For earrings I prefer round studs, or drop shaped dangles.
I don't really wear pearl bracelets or rings. They annoy me, and my typical household activities aren't good for them anyway.
Sizes: I used to buy smaller pearls. That was what I could afford years ago when I began buying pearls. . But I prefer larger ones.
Colored pearls:
I prefer my Tahitian / Fijian and Golden SS colors over my pearls having the typical FW colors (peach, lavender etc.)
I prefer natural colors over dyed pearls.
I usually prefer colored pearls over whites; I wear my Tahitians and GSS more often.
Whites: I prefer cool whites (like my SSP and one strand I have of white FW keshi) over warmer whites (including my metallic white FWP)
I don't like the way cream colored pearls look on my skin.
Luster: Does it need to be said? I prefer my more lustrous pearls over the ones with lower luster.

Life is a journey, so it's fine to learn what we like more/less by trial and error along the way. Our tastes evolve, too. And the industry evolves.
Back when I received my first pearl necklace (little Biwa pearls, in 1980) there were no round freshwater pearls. No naturally colored baroque akoyas. No Edison pearls. No Internet. Tahitians were extremely expensive. I could not have afforded akoyas.

I don't regret the things I bought early on, because that was what was available then, and what I could afford, and what appealed to me. Now it may appeal to me less but I had a lot of pleasure wearing those items back then.

I do think that it's usually a mistake for new pearl collectors to buy a lot of new pieces over a short period of time. It's too easy to end up with a lot of similar items-- or to buy pieces one is settling for rather than what one really wants.

I also have found that for me, serendipity figured highly in the pearls I've acquired. When a piece came along that grabbed me, I jumped. It has taken decades to accumulate the pearls I have. Life is long (hopefully) so give yourself time.

Thank you for the really thoughtful and helpful reply! Breaking things down into shape, size, colour, lustre is great categorization.

I think you’re right about buying too many things in a short space of time and “settling” - I was about to keep a baroque akoya strand which was just slightly too blue, but thankfully I read your comment in the return window haha!

Love that serendipity plays a part too! Can’t wait to walk various other pearl markets and see what catches my eye (although at the moment, I’m usually scrolling through livestreams as we’re based in Beijing for a couple of years).
 
Wow, the answer to this question depends on what day it is.

Years ago, I would have said a 36" rope of 8mm white akoyas, and matching pearl studs. And a choker of white akoyas. And a 3 strand dog collar with an interesting clasp, because I was a huge Princess Diana fan.

Today, it's long ropes of mismatched pearls, tin cups, shorter strands of Wilma Flintstone sized pearls, drop shaped pendants worn on necklaces and earrings, and 9 to 10 mm studs. The more intense the natural colors the better. Baroques and circles look more real to me, so now I prefer them over perfectly round pearls. Unique pearls. One of a kind.

I've sold some pieces I bought early on, because I inherited my mother's pieces, and hers were nicer, but exactly the same style.

PSS (pearl shrinkage syndrome) is real. I cannot get my pearls big enough now. But I don't think these big pearls would have suited me 40 years ago when I started buying pearls. I was younger and skinnier and smaller pearls were all that was available then, and they looked good on me.

If I could only keep 5 pieces, I'd have to pick my most expensive pieces. My natural white Hanadama rope from PP, 2019 All Josh Harvest strand from Kamoka, Eclipse Edison necklace from PP, My Mikimoto huggie earrings, and my 3 strand former dog collar, that now sits at the base of my neck like a choker.

But then I'd have to give up my pistachios, and BBAs, and Tahitians, and Kasumi pearls. So, that's not going to happen.
Thanks @BWeaves , it’s a real conundrum because pearls are so varied! It’s like the full spectrum of gemstones under one umbrella.

Hehe very interesting that both you and @Pearl Dreams prefer non-round shapes. I feel like I’ve graduated to the “big” leagues regarding pearl shapes as I too prefer them slightly wonkier - all part of the charm! :D

For intense natural colours, out of interest do you buy these mostly online or in person? I’ve found it so difficult to judge how colourful pearls will perform in real life.
 
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That’s a beautiful strand of Tahitians to start your collection, Pomelo!

I’m afraid my answer will be long-winded and not very direct.:rolleyes: My collection is more by eras. I did a little walk down memory lane and took a pic of the jewelry I wore through some of HS, all of college, and several years after. I was petite, not too much into jewelry, and I only liked very tiny specks of jewelry. I wore rings daily, and now I wear rings the least. Here’s a pic of what I wore everyday and rarely switched out. Most of my jewelry were gifts.
View attachment 469595

Fast forward to pearls… although I grew up with Akoya pearls, my first real collection purchase was a Tahitian pendant from PP. The original Traveling Pearl that Bunny wears. I wore it daily for years. My first purchases were mostly pendants, which worked well for me because they were practical for work and not as expensive as strands. From there, most my other purchases were just by opportunity, something I saw and liked, not something I sought out. I think that has always kept me really happy with what I have because I’ve had such incredible opportunities. I’m not much of a bigger pearl person. I have a few large strands, but I prefer to stay a little smaller and layer if I want a bigger look. My favorite pearl is the Tahitian, although I love all pearls in all shapes and colors. The one color I have steered from is the pistachio, which is a sought after color for many in the US. I like it in mult-colored strands or in smaller doses, but a full strand is not the most flattering color for me. I think we are automatically drawn to colors that suit us.

As for the 5 keepers… impossible to decide. I would be able to eliminate rings, earrings I would probably choose studs over dangles, bracelets I would probably choose tin cups over strands, but necklaces I would not be able to choose a type.

Short version, get what you love and you know you will wear. We all have different preferences and styles that also can change with age. AND welcome to the pearl world! Wishing you an incredible journey!!!

Thanks @jeg for the wise words. Must’ve brought back memories when you went through jewellery by era!

Just wondering how you create those opportunities to see and learn about amazing pearls? Even if it’s “just luck”, I believe that we create our own luck :)

To your point, I think it takes time, effort and trial-and-error to really discover what we love and what we will wear again and again. I’ve definitely made some poor decisions in the past on pieces of jewellery - perhaps because it was so beautiful in photos, or it was designer, or rare.

Over time, I realised that I couldn’t simply enjoy looking at a piece in my jewellery box. So, one metric I like to think about is (cost per wear)*enjoyment, ie cost per wear and enjoyment both factor into the equation, because a piece may bring a ton of joy but can only be worn on certain occasions.

This equation “helped” me splurge on some VCA Magic Alhambra earrings. I winced at the checkout and I knew they wouldn’t be a daily wear piece, but I pull them out whenever I’m feeling even the teensiest bit fancy because they bring me so much joy! They’re MOP so still in keeping with this forum ;)

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Not only the strand is beautiful, but the eye of the owner is apparent in the photography. Such a good eye portends well for future acquisitions! Commendation to Pomelo for this very refreshing opportunity to reflect.

Thanks for the compliment @SteveM ! I guess I’ve been obsessed with jewellery (mostly diamond and signed pieces) for a long time, so I have an inkling as to what I like.

But I must say, I haven’t used my grey cells this creatively in a long time! The variety of pearls is staggering and I want to learn about them / get my grubby fingers on them allll :devilish:

If I may, what were your reflections on your favourite pearls?
 
Thanks @BWeaves , it’s a real conundrum because pearls are so varied! It’s like the full spectrum of gemstones under one umbrella.

Hehe very interesting that both you and @Pearl Dreams prefer non-round shapes. I feel like I’ve graduated to the “big” leagues regarding pearl shapes as I too prefer them slightly wonkier - all part of the charm! :D

For intense natural colours, out of interest do you buy these mostly online or in person? I’ve found it so difficult to judge how colourful pearls will perform in real life.
I buy online from Pearl Paradise, Pearls of Joy, Kojima, Kamoka, and a few others. I buy from vendors who are not using stock photos, but photos of the actual item I will receive. I buy from vendors who have good return policies, so I can view the pieces in person and return them if I don't care for them. Some of the vendors will do Zoom sessions where I can see the pearls handled and discuss, like if I was there in person. Others will send me good photos. I've only bought in person when I've flown to California for Pearl Ruckus (which was put on by PP). I'd love to go to Pearls by the Bay (Kojima), which replaced Ruckus, but I haven't been able to make it yet. The Pearl Paradise Live Events have also been great for seeing the pearls "live."
 
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I buy online from Pearl Paradise, Pearls of Joy, Kojima, Kamoka, and a few others. I buy from vendors who are not using stock photos, but photos of the actual item I will received. I buy from vendors who have good return policies, so I can view the pieces in person and return them if I don't care for them. Some of the vendors will do Zoom sessions where I can see the pearls handled and discuss, like if I was there in person. Others will send me good photos. I've only bought in person when I've flown to California for Pearl Ruckus (which was put on by PP). I'd love to go to Pearls by the Bay (Kojima), which replaced Ruckus, but I haven't been able to make it yet. The Pearl Paradise Live Events have also been great for seeing the pearls "live."
Thanks, I definitely need to catch the PP live events for educational purposes! I’m not based in the US and international shipping/returns is always a pain…
 
I am fairly close to having only five pieces - if I count necklaces :) I have earrings too and three rings. Oh, and a couple of bracelets :) I was lucky to find out early that I prefer saltwater pearls. So I have one necklace of each: white Akoya, blue Akoya, Akoya keshi (single strand), multicolor Tahitians, one Tahitian on leather, white Tahitians, golden South Sea, white South Sea. Additionally I do have some wire wrapped as well. But I have pretty much been able to limit myself to one neckless pr. type of pearl. I also don't wear pearls often, mostly the one on leather, and that makes it easier for me to limit myself. There are some of the necklaces I would like to 'upgrade' to higher quality and I would love an ombre necklace but I don't wear pearls enough to warrant the cost. I have mostly bought online.
 
If I may, what were your reflections on your favourite pearls?
I would reflect that beyond my particular interest in naturals for their spontaneous beauty, this forum has made sure to keep my eyes wide open. From a jewelry standpoint I am drawn to pendants for their focus and individuality, and bracelets that can be equally enjoyed by wearer and watcher.
 
I am fairly close to having only five pieces - if I count necklaces :) I have earrings too and three rings. Oh, and a couple of bracelets :) I was lucky to find out early that I prefer saltwater pearls. So I have one necklace of each: white Akoya, blue Akoya, Akoya keshi (single strand), multicolor Tahitians, one Tahitian on leather, white Tahitians, golden South Sea, white South Sea. Additionally I do have some wire wrapped as well. But I have pretty much been able to limit myself to one neckless pr. type of pearl. I also don't wear pearls often, mostly the one on leather, and that makes it easier for me to limit myself. There are some of the necklaces I would like to 'upgrade' to higher quality and I would love an ombre necklace but I don't wear pearls enough to warrant the cost. I have mostly bought online.
I love that you’re so disciplined to have just one of each! And after a bit of stalking, I saw you posted this photo a few years ago… what a wonderful pearl rainbow

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When you talk about upgrading, what aspect are you most keen on upgrading (luster, size etc)?
 
I would reflect that beyond my particular interest in naturals for their spontaneous beauty, this forum has made sure to keep my eyes wide open. From a jewelry standpoint I am drawn to pendants for their focus and individuality, and bracelets that can be equally enjoyed by wearer and watcher.
Yes to eyes wide open! I’m currently going through the 1,000+ pages of Show Me Your Pearls to learn from everyone :geek:
 
"When you talk about upgrading, what aspect are you most keen on upgrading (luster, size etc)?"

I did upgrade the Akoya strand. I had a problem with it being pinked and dreamed about a natural strand. That it was nearly round was fine. My budget wasn't for a Hanadama and I still sometimes dream of a natural Akoya strand so lustreous the pearls look like little light bulbs :) I wire wrapped the original Akoya strand with gold coloured base metal that oxidized to a very worn look that I thought was a fun contrast to fancy Akoya pearls.

I have never really bonded with the blue Akoya. I have seen a few strands here that are much more blue and have streaks of pink. Sigh... And having a golden SSP with flashes of other colors would be amazing. The Tahitian is Kamoka so no upgrading there but I do dream of also having a green Tahitian strand. But other than that I don't need more than one of each and even that is more than I need :)
 
Pomelo, your danglies are a perfect example of knowing your own style, what you love and what you will wear. They look fantastic on you!

I have created a lot of opportunities for myself through travels and through getting to know so many wonderful people in the pearl world, and so often it’s just seeing something unexpectedly that I just have to have.

Oh my, if you’re working your way through the Show Us Your Pearls thread, you can understand why many of us can’t choose just 5 favorites!
 
I am going to try to answer your question. I won't lie - it gives me real anxiety at the thought of getting rid of most of my pearls! And the truth is that my "favorites" usually change depending on the season and what necklines I'm wearing. I do sell pearls I no longer find myself drawn to, (I sold a baroque akoya strand just this week!) but I know 100% that I will not ever sell the pearls I'm about to list.

1) My very first strand of freshwater pearls from my parents when I was 15. I scoured the internet and stumbled upon Pearl Paradise and decided on the exact strand I wanted and presented the web address to my parents when they asked what I wanted for my birthday. I remember my mom asking me if I was sure I wanted pearls because that would be all I'd be receiving. Little did she know what kind of a spiral that one strand would start me on! I don't wear that strand much anymore but I will treasure it forever. It's the strand on the left in the picture below. Needs restringing!

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2) My first pearl purchase, a strand of semi-baroque circled dark tahitians with peacock overtones also from Pearl Paradise. I had just graduated college and had an influx of money the likes of which I'd never seen before 😆 I had been wanting a strand of tahitians for years at that point and figured it would be a while before I had that kind of expendable income so I went for it. And boy, did I make a good decision. I am still hopelessly in love with that strand and wear it very frequently. It's the shorter strand in this picture I took recently.

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3) That pendant in the above picture. I paid a ridiculously low price for what I believe is the perfect tahitian drop pearl. The shape, the luster, the circles of rainbow colors, the size - all perfection in my eyes! To say I'm in love with it is an understatement. It will never leave me as long as I have a say.

4) My mirror edison ring - I mean.. I think this picture speaks for itself. It is the most crisp luster I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of pearls. It is as close to perfection as a pearl can get in my opinion, which makes it irreplaceable to me.

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5) Since I have to cap it at 5, this is the last piece to make the cut (as of my feelings tonight anyway). This is a super metallic souffle pendant that I got from one of PP's old VIP sales. It's just classic and effortless and gorgeous. Goes with absolutely everything from super casual to dressy. I thought I lost it for a little while and it looked like a rabid bear had torn through my house by the time I got done looking for it.

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I feel a little disloyal doing this list but also a little proud of myself!
 
"When you talk about upgrading, what aspect are you most keen on upgrading (luster, size etc)?"

I did upgrade the Akoya strand. I had a problem with it being pinked and dreamed about a natural strand. That it was nearly round was fine. My budget wasn't for a Hanadama and I still sometimes dream of a natural Akoya strand so lustreous the pearls look like little light bulbs :) I wire wrapped the original Akoya strand with gold coloured base metal that oxidized to a very worn look that I thought was a fun contrast to fancy Akoya pearls.

I have never really bonded with the blue Akoya. I have seen a few strands here that are much more blue and have streaks of pink. Sigh... And having a golden SSP with flashes of other colors would be amazing. The Tahitian is Kamoka so no upgrading there but I do dream of also having a green Tahitian strand. But other than that I don't need more than one of each and even that is more than I need :)
Hehe, I’d love to see your fancy akoya and oxidised base metal look! Sounds like a great juxtaposition
 
I am going to try to answer your question. I won't lie - it gives me real anxiety at the thought of getting rid of most of my pearls! And the truth is that my "favorites" usually change depending on the season and what necklines I'm wearing. I do sell pearls I no longer find myself drawn to, (I sold a baroque akoya strand just this week!) but I know 100% that I will not ever sell the pearls I'm about to list.

1) My very first strand of freshwater pearls from my parents when I was 15. I scoured the internet and stumbled upon Pearl Paradise and decided on the exact strand I wanted and presented the web address to my parents when they asked what I wanted for my birthday. I remember my mom asking me if I was sure I wanted pearls because that would be all I'd be receiving. Little did she know what kind of a spiral that one strand would start me on! I don't wear that strand much anymore but I will treasure it forever. It's the strand on the left in the picture below. Needs restringing!

View attachment 469608

2) My first pearl purchase, a strand of semi-baroque circled dark tahitians with peacock overtones also from Pearl Paradise. I had just graduated college and had an influx of money the likes of which I'd never seen before 😆 I had been wanting a strand of tahitians for years at that point and figured it would be a while before I had that kind of expendable income so I went for it. And boy, did I make a good decision. I am still hopelessly in love with that strand and wear it very frequently. It's the shorter strand in this picture I took recently.

View attachment 469606

3) That pendant in the above picture. I paid a ridiculously low price for what I believe is the perfect tahitian drop pearl. The shape, the luster, the circles of rainbow colors, the size - all perfection in my eyes! To say I'm in love with it is an understatement. It will never leave me as long as I have a say.

4) My mirror edison ring - I mean.. I think this picture speaks for itself. It is the most crisp luster I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of pearls. It is as close to perfection as a pearl can get in my opinion, which makes it irreplaceable to me.

View attachment 469607

5) Since I have to cap it at 5, this is the last piece to make the cut (as of my feelings tonight anyway). This is a super metallic souffle pendant that I got from one of PP's old VIP sales. It's just classic and effortless and gorgeous. Goes with absolutely everything from super casual to dressy. I thought I lost it for a little while and it looked like a rabid bear had torn through my house by the time I got done looking for it.

View attachment 469609

I feel a little disloyal doing this list but also a little proud of myself!

Loving your top five pieces! Both the sentimentality as well as some jaw-dropping pearls - that Tahitian, Edison and soufflé!

Aside from your freshwater strand, do you find that you wear your top pieces the most, or you chose them because the pearls are remarkable specimens? The reason is because I’ve found that the pieces I like to stare at /lay them out on the bed aren’t necessarily the ones that I wear most!
 
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