What Is a Pearl?
The way a pearl is created is nothing short of miraculous. Pearls form when an organic invader burrows deep into the soft tissues of an oyster.
Pearls come in different colors, including pink, white, yellow, black, and green. The color of a pearl is determined by the type of oyster or clam that produced it, as well as the environment in which it was formed.
Pearls are often used in jewelry, and they can be found in a variety of styles. Pearl necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are all popular choices. Pearls can also be used in other types of jewelry, such as rings and brooches.
Additionally, pearls also have a long history of symbolism. In many cultures, pearls are associated with purity, innocence, and wisdom. They are also often seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
Today, pearls are still prized for their beauty and symbolism. They are a popular choice for jewelry and are also used in other decorative items, such as boxes and figurines. If you’re in the market for pearl jewelry or want to celebrate a June birthday or another special occasion, it’s good to understand the different types of pearls and the factors that determine their value. Pearls come in several sizes and shapes, but a classic Akoya cultured pearl strand necklace is the top seller among our most popular pearl jewelry.
Quality Factors For Choosing The Right Pearl
The value of a pearl varies widely. While there is no standardized grading system for pearl quality, there are several factors that help determine the value of a pearl, including pearl type, size, shape, color, nacre quality, and luster—plus its rarity and weight (for natural pearls) or size (for cultured pearls).
Another factor for assessing the quality of pearl jewelry is how well the pearls match from one to the next. For example, it can take years to produce a strand of South Sea pearls that are all the exact millimeters in size, shape, and color, which is why they command a high price.
Types Of Pearls
Natural pearls will always be the most expensive because they are so rare. In the world of cultured pearls, South Sea pearls are the most valuable because of their large size and the fact that they are complicated to grow. South Sea pearls’ most highly prized colors are golden or pure white. But they also come in other colors, including silver and blue with green overtones.
- Natural pearls
Natural pearls are formed when a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, gets trapped inside an oyster or clam. The oyster or clam then secretes layers of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, around the object to protect itself. These layers of nacre build up to form a pearl. Natural pearls are scarce and often more valuable than cultured pearls.
- Cultured pearls
Cultured pearls are created by seeding an oyster or clam with a piece of mantle tissue. The oyster or clam then secretes nacre around the mantle tissue, creating a cultured pearl. Cultured pearls are much more common than natural pearls and are often less expensive. However, some high-quality cultured pearls can be very valuable.
- Baroque pearls
Baroque pearls are irregular in shape. They are often considered to be more unique and valuable than round pearls.
- Keishi pearls
Keishi pearls are tiny, round pearls. They are often used in jewelry, as they are less expensive than larger pearls.
- Mizu-Kabu pearls
Mizu-kabu pearls are freshwater pearls that are grown in Japan. They are known for their high quality and their unique luster.
How To Identify Real Vs. Fake Pearls
The most significant difference between real and fake pearls is their surface feel. The surface feel of real pearls is slightly uneven, while the surface of plastic or glass beads is perfectly smooth. Because pearls are made by nature (or cultured to mimic the natural process), real pearls will also vary in size, color, and luster compared to the uniform look of fake pearls.
Pearls are delicate gemstones, so it is important to care for them properly. Here are some tips on how to care for pearls:
- Store pearls in a soft cloth pouch.
- Avoid wearing pearls in water.
- If you get pearls wet, dry them immediately with a soft cloth.
- Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on pearls.
- Have your pearls cleaned and polished by a qualified jeweler every few years.
If worn routinely, it’s recommended to restring a pearl strand or bracelet every five years or if you see discoloration or fraying. Pearl strands that are tightly strung can sometimes be loosened by hanging them on a door knob in a bathroom, where the weight of the pearls and the moisture in the room helps to straighten the strands out.