Pearls ... They call them "tears of the sea", "stone tears", "Lotus Flower", "heavenly dew" ....
They have been known for centuries and still are one of the most beautiful and wanted gems.
Pearls are organic gems formed in the body of some mussels and oysters. When the oyster gets a grain of sand or some macroscopic object mussel shell is closed for a long time and covered the object with a nacreous layer.
Saltwater pearls are usually larger and are formed in oysters or mussels growing in salty water. Some of the best places for growing saltwater pearls are the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Southeast Asia. In Australia and Tahiti are found the best black pearls.
Freshwater pearls occur in rivers, lakes and ponds in Scotland, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany and the USA. Each freshwater mollusk can carry 20 or more pearls while saltwater can have a maximum of three more or less. The production of freshwater pearls is relatively large and less expensive. This means that they are usually sold at lower prices.
The collection of the natural pearls is through catch pearl mussels. Hunters gather mussels for pearls from the sea or river bed with nets, often under difficult and dangerous conditions. Natural pearls are considered one of the most expensive jewelry in the world. The diameter of natural pearls is from 2 to 8 mm. Pearls over 8 mm in diameter are very rare. The large samples are extremely rare. Largest and most beautiful specimens are also the historical rarity just like are large diamonds. They have their own story filled with adventures and of course a lot of myths and legends.
The first attempts in obtaining cultured pearls date back to the eighteenth century in China, but only in 1913 Japanese researcher Kokihi Mikimoto has developed industrial technology for artificially producing of well-shaped pearls. Of course they are less popular than natural pearls and therefore the price is much lower.
Today about 90% of modern pearl trade is done of this type of pearls produced in farms for cultivation mainly in Japan and to a lesser extent in some other countries - Australia, China Philippines, Polynesia.
There are different varieties of cultured pearls depending of their geographic origin:
The name derived from Lake BIWA – the largest freshwater lake in Japan. Pearls are of asymmetrical shapes.
Akoya cultured saltwater pearls are formed by oysters of the genus Pinctada fucata martenii, grown mainly in Japan and China. Prized for their luster Akoya pearls are most commonly used for necklaces. Generally they are white, but can be also pink, yellow and green. The shortest period for production of Japanese Akoya pearls is about one year (this is the time required to form the pearl in the mollusk shell).
This is a high quality cultured pearl with a relatively large size. The color varies from grey to black, the size is usually 11-12 mm in diameter. Tahitian pearls are growing much faster than other types of pearls, but only a small part of mollusks is capable of producing high-quality round pearls. Each pearl is unique. For this reason the work of jewelry of this kind of pearls is very difficult -jewelers have to manually go through hundreds of gems to collect the perfect necklace.
South Sea Pearls
This noble and large pearl is often called the "queen" of cultured pearls. It is produces by a very large species of marine mollusks - Pinctada maxima. Nowadays all pearls, grown by these mollusks are called "pearls of the South Seas" and meaning the waters of Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Diameter of the pearls is of 10 to 20 mm. It is the most expensive cultured saltwater pearl because it stays longer in the mollusk, pearl has a thick layer and is the largest. It also means that the form is less perfect and often bears more defects than the smaller samples. But this pearl is very beautiful and valuable. The palette of colors includes both white and shades from golden to orange, blue, and some black tones.
Very often imitations are offered on the market. They are made of glass or plastic and are painted in pearl color. Such products have artificial glow and look exactly the same. They are very cheap.
The best Imitation pearls are Swarovski crystal pearls. They are made by a unique technology by applying special multilayer coating on the crystal core. This technology provides a shine worthy rival the natural pearls. Crystal beads Swarovski are not resistant to wear, sweat, sunlight, scratches, perfumes and detergents, because they have only nacreous layer which is easily damaged. But they are a huge variety of colors and relatively low cost.
Pearls are like “living beings” and are not as long lasting as other gems. They "suffer", which means that darken and therefore lose their appeal. The average life of pears is 150-200 years. What pearl loves is to be worn. They feed on the heat and humidity of the human body. When pearl jewelry is not worn for a long time some of the pearls may “die”.
To be beautiful and shiny pearls must be maintained. Here's how to care for your pearls:
When choosing pearl jewelry you need to decide what length is most suitable for you. Height, build, age, and even the dress code will affect the choice of length. It should also be noted that due to the size of the pearls themselves thread should be longer than just a string. For very pearls is preferred longer length. Below we provide a classification of pearl necklaces.
The most versatile length for jewelry is 40 centimeters. String of pearls is lying around the base of the neck. This length allows you to show the necklace in almost any neckline and is therefore suitable for any clothes. Many young women are opting for shorter necklaces, so Choker is ideal as a first pearl jewelry.
The length of the necklace is usually 45 centimeters which is slightly longer than the choker. Therefore, string of pearls is lying below the line of ordinary neckline and closed well with blouses, and a V-neckline.
About 60 centimeters long. This is a wonderful choice to wear a turtleneck. Since this kind of necklace is long it can be combined with shorter necklace to create a multi-layered effect.
The length of such jewelry is about 90 centimeters. This necklace can also be worn in two layers, so is suitable for almost any neckline.
The length is 120 cm or more. This is a very elegant necklace that will perfectly complement evening toilet. This necklace can be topped by two or even three layers, as well as tied up for adding glamour.
Necklaces can also be classified as uniform or graduated. In a uniform strand of pearls all beads are classified the same. Freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls are measured to a full millimeter when considered uniform. A graduated strand of pearls most often has at least 3 mm difference between ends and the centre of the necklace.