Black pearl, Tahitian pearl, South Seas pearl, white, golden or pink pearl; no matter which one you find more beautiful, this special natures’ gem is one of the very few gems that is produced by a living organism and not found as a mineral in the ground like most other gems.
In the past, the only way to obtain pearls was to gather and open hundreds of pearl producing mollusks just to find one natural gem quality pearl. These wild pearls consisted almost entirely of nacre. Only the wealthiest of the wealthy could afford to obtain such objects of natural beauty.
The introduction of the culturing process changed the industry tremendously. Pearls that were once unavailable to the public became available to anyone who wished to own them. Today, cultured freshwater and saltwater pearls are virtually the only type of pearls used in fine jewellery making.
Without using specialized testing such as X-raying, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a natural and a cultured pearl. X-ray imaging would reveal the bead that was used to start the culturing process. A natural pearl would reveal closely spaced concentric circles that show the natural nacre depositing process.
Because pearls are a natural organic material, they require a bit more love and care when it comes to keeping them looking great. One of the very basic ways is to simply wear them. Naturally occurring oils in the skin help keep pearls from drying out. That said, there is one rule about how you wear pearls. They should be the last thing you put on and the fist thing you take off. Chemicals in perfume and hair products such as hairspray can damage pearls. A simple wipe with a damp cloth before putting pearls away would remove any potentially harmful residues and keep pearls looking great longer. Just be sure to let them dry before storing them.
Pearls should be kept separate from all other jewellery because the surface can be easily damaged or scratched. The best way to store them is to place them is a soft cloth pouch rather than a plastic bag because plastics can sometimes emit chemicals that may harm organic materials. Pearl strands should be stored laying down, not hung. They are usually strung on a silk strand that may stretch or break if under stress and therefore require regular restringing as the knots can stretch and fray over time.
We'll be featuring more peals in our upcoming estate & antique inspired collection. Stay tuned.
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