Pearls 101

Here’s a crash course through pearl education.

Fun fact: Pearls are rare. Therefore, most of what you see is cultured.

How to create or “culture” a pearl:

Step 1. Insert tiny bead into oyster’s mouth.

Step 2. Be patient. Wait for oyster to develop nacre–iridescent coatings of natural minerals and proteins–around the bead.

Nacre

  • creates *lustre (brilliance) and colour. The higher the lustre, the better.
  • the more nacre, the *bigger the pearl. The bigger the pearl, the better. Why? More layers of nacre=more lustre!

Types:                                                     See pictures above for examples 

Mother of Pearl: aka nacre. It is not so much a pearl as it is shell material.

Freshwater: Created by freshwater mollusks.

*Saltwater: aka “cultured pearls” e.g. Akoyas, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls. These are the most valuable.

Colours: e.g. white, pink, silver, black, peach, lavendar and gold.

Shapes: *round, off-round, oval, teardrop and baroque. The rounder the better.

Blemish: bubble or mark caused by uneven nacre development.

Maintenance —Done right, they can last a lifetime.

DON’T expose pearls to chemicals e.g. perfume and makeup.

DO:

  • Wear the pearls close to the skin. Natural body oils maintain pearl lustre!
  • Wipe with a gentle cloth and store so as to prevent it from being rubbed or scratched.
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