Through the years, pearl jewelry has been a symbol of purity and modesty. These exquisite stones are amazingly crafted by nature that is why many people love wearing them. Pearls are also known as an “organic gem”. They got this name because of the fact that they are obtained from living sea shells. For 4000 years, these beautiful stones have always been produced by the wonderful magic of nature. Until now, pearls are still harvested from shellfishes. Although, our ways of harvesting them has definitely changed through time. Before people would rummage the deep ocean floor to get a natural pearl but now, most pearls are obtained from cultured clams. There are still a few natural pearls available but they are extremely rare and hard to find.
Now, the question is “Is there a difference between natural and cultured pearls? The answer is yes! There some notable differences, primarily on how they are created and harvested. Natural pearls are created when an irritant like sand gets inside a shellfish. When the shellfish senses that there is something inside it, it will cover the irritant with semi-translucent layers of natural minerals and protein. The layer of natural minerals and proteins are also known as nacre. This nacre is the primary reason why pearls give that amazing luster and color. The formation of pearl may take years. The chance of obtaining the natural pearl can only happen if someone finds a seashell under the sea and gets it. This process is not only a danger to the life of the swimmer but also for the balance of mother nature. This resulted in the rise of cultured pearls. Of course, cultured pearls are easy to harvest but definitely complex to create. They are created by implanting a tiny bead into a seashell like an oyster. Then, the oyster coats the tiny bead with layers of natural minerals and proteins.
Different Types of Pearls
Akoya pearls are a staple. They emit the brightest and most beautiful luster compared to all other types of pearl. They commonly come in sizes ranging from 5mm to 11mm. Although, 10m to 11 mm are already hard to find. Akoya pearls are commonly seen with a white or cream color. However, there are some that come in black or gray colors too. Some Akoya pearls can also have overtones of ivory and rose. There are also jewelry manufacturers who perform treatments on Akoya pearls to achieve a black color.
Freshwater pearls were initially brought to the public’s eye by China. They are created with the help of freshwater mussels. These mussels create pearls that come in a variety of colors like black, peach, pink, white, purple, plum, lavender, and tangerine.
Tahitian pearls are crafted by the Black-lipped oyster. These oysters live in the warm waters of the South Seas. These oysters are known for producing black pearls naturally. Although most of the Tahitian pearls are black, there are still a variety of colors it comes with. There are silver, green, blue, purple, and gray colored ones. The most sought-after type of Tahitian Pearl are the black ones with peacock green overtones.
Southsea pearls are also created in the warm waters of the South Seas, except they are crafted by a different kind of oyster. Countries who produce them are Indonesia, Myanmar, and Australia. These pearls may come in gold, white, cream or silver.The Southsea pearl is the most expensive type because it possesses extremely rare characteristics and have a much thicker nacre.
31 Unique Pearl Necklaces
Pearl Necklace Value Factors
As mentioned earlier, luster is a common characteristic of pearl. This characteristic should concern you especially if you are wanting to buy a good quality of a pearl. Luster is the extreme shine you see when looking at the pearl in bright light. When light hits the surface of the pearl, it reflects off those tiny calcium carbonate crystals in the surface. A larger pearl would have more nacre, thus, it will exhibit more luster. Try to compare different sizes of pearls and you will see the difference. In order for you to be better in examining the pearl. you should ask yourself: how sharp is the luster? how intense is the reflection that you see? Additionally, look at how clear the images are as it reflected on the surface of the pearl. The more mirror-like it is, the better. You should also see how warmly it glows from within.
Different types of pearls come in different sizes too. Freshwater pearls range from about 2.0mm to 15.0mm, Akoya pearls range from 2.0 to 11.0mm, and South Sea and Tahitian pearls may grow from 9.0mm to 20.0mm. Large pearls are ideal for pearl necklaces while smaller pearls are best for earrings and bracelets.
The surface of the pearl would also affect its value. Since a mollusk is responsible for creating the pearl, expect that the surface will not always be smooth. In the natural pearl creation process, spots and bubbles may appear. Since this is a product of nature, imperfections are common. These imperfections make them unique. Of course, when it comes to jewelry, pearls with clean and smooth surfaces get the highest price. Even though they are expensive, they are still the most sought-after pearl. Common imperfections and irregularities are abrasions, scratches, spots, minimal color variations, bubbles, bumps, and wrinkles. Even the most high-quality pearl may have come of these surface markings. It is just a matter of how visible they are.
Pearls come in different shapes. There are round, off-round, button, oval, teardrop, circle and semi-baroque. The highest quality of pearl shape is round. Round pearls are most common on Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls. It is very hard to create a perfect round-shaped pearl that is why jewelry with round pearls are the most expensive. Other shapes are more affordable but they are considered to be of less quality. These shapes are common for freshwater pearls. Freshwater pearls tend to be oval or off-round.
Pearl Necklace Proper Care
Pearls used on necklaces are typically larger than normal. They require extra care because even though they are large, they are still soft. They cannot be combined with other types of jewelry because they can lead to scratches and eventually destruction. Here are some tips you can follow to properly take care of your pearl necklace. These can help you maintain and restore the glitter and sheen of your jewelry.
- Pearls should not be worn regularly by acidic people. The acid can damage the surface of the pearl and eventually destroy it.
- Whether you are acidic or not, always wipe the pearl necklace with a soft cloth or chamois after wearing to minimize damage.
- Keep your pearl necklace away from chemicals like perfume, vinegar, lemon juice, and other harmful liquid.
- Do not store your pearl necklace in extremely hot locations. Heat can lead to the browning of the pearl;s surface and cracks.
- Do not expose your pearl necklace into the dry air like the air in deposit vaults.
- When you are wearing or removing your pearl necklace, it is better to touch the non-pearl parts of the necklace.
- Do not apply cosmetics while the pearl necklace is on your neck.
- Do not wear your pearl necklace with rough fabric.
Cleaning Pearls Necklaces
- Avoid ultrasonic cleaners in cleaning pearl.
- In the same way, do not use steam cleaners for pearls.
- Keep your pearl necklace away from detergents, bleaches, baking soda, and ammonia-based cleaners.
- Do not clean your pearl with toothbrush, scouring pad, and any other abrasive things.
- Use olive oil in cleaning the pearl.
- After cleaning the pearl, never hang them to dry
- Instead, lay them flat on a towel.
A pearl necklace is one of the magnificent gift nature has given to us. With the complete knowledge about them, we should be able to get the best pearl necklace out there and retain its beauty for a lifetime. Do not miss the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature by getting one of these lustrous necklaces. Pearl necklaces are also the perfect gift for women.