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If her style is classic, opt for a ring or pendant set with a black Tahitian or a white South Sea pearl. If she likes the unusual, choose a two-pearl, black-and-white combination or perhaps add a natural golden pearl - a very hot look right now. A ring or necklace set with three different colored pearls is very popular.

If her style and your budget don't permit the purchase of big pearls, look for jewelry of freshwater pearls, at far lower cost. No longer the bumpy rice-shaped pearls of the past, today's freshwater pearls rival the size and roundness of the best saltwater pearls, in a luscious range of natural tints from lavender and pink to peach and silvery gray.

New styles include delicate chokers with pearls spaced between gold links or wires, long ropes made from a variety of different colored and shaped pearls to dramatic bibs that extend from the middle of the neck to the outer reaches of the collarbone. Wide bracelets with multiple strands of pearls and bold cluster rings also make excellent gift choices for cultured pearl jewelry.