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.
- 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.
- 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.