Pearls are a beautiful assest to anyone’s personal jewelry collection.
Visit Austin’s Jewelry today to speak with a knowledgeable salesperson about your next pearl purchase.
Quick Pearl Facts
It takes over 800,000 oyster hours to grow the cultured pearls that make up a high quality strand.
A pearl farmer must meticulously sort through almost 10,000 pearls in order to collect the 47 matched pearls that will make up a high quality necklace. All the pearls in an assembled strand must match in terms of luster, shape, color and size.
The Ancient Greeks believed that cultured pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed brides from crying.
The ancients believed that pearls contained magical properties that would promote health, wealth and long life.
Pearls are one of the earliest known gems to be coveted by man. Long before diamonds and gold were discovered and mined, pearls already were highly prized and traded – more than 5000 years ago.
During the Crusades, dashing knights wore pearls into battle, believing that this sea-born gem would protect them from harm and misfortune.
Cultured Pearl Terminology
The combination of a pearl’s surface brilliance and its deep-seated glow. High quality pearls should be bright, glowing and able to clearly reflect objects near them.
A fine pearl should be virtually absent of spots, bumps or cracks.
The rounder, more symmetrical a pearl is, the more valuable it will be. Baroque pearls ones that are asymmetrical, can be lustrous and appealing, and often cost less than round pearls.
Pearls come in a range of colors from rose to black. Color is a matter of personal preference, although rose or silver/white pearls tend to look best on fair skins, while cream and gold-tones pearls are more flattering to darker complexions.
Cultured pearls are measured in millimeters. In general, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it will be. The most popular sizes sold today are between 7 and 7 1/2 mm.
Your Cultured Pearl Questions
Q: Are Cultured Pearls Man-Made?
A: Absolutely not. They are “man assisted.” Cultured pearls, like natural pearls, are grown in live oysters. Cultured pearls start with a shell bead that is surgically implanted in the host oyster. To protect itself, the oyster secretes a crystalline substance, called “nacre,” over the irritant. Over time, the nacre layers build on one another, creating the deep luster favored in high-quality cultured pearls. Imitation or man-made pearls are created in a factory without the aid of an oyster by using organic and inorganic chemical and compounds. One popular technique starts with a glass bead that is dipped many times in a fish-scale and lacquer substance. Most artificial pearls shine on the surface like nail polish, while cultured pearls emanate a glow that seems to come from within.
Q: What’s The Difference Between Cultured And Natural Pearls?
A: Natural pearls are formed without the assistance of man. They form naturally when a bit of sand, shell or parasite enters the body of an oyster and can not be flushed out by the oysters natural defenses. Since this occurrence is so rare, the natural pearls seen today are nearly exclusively in estate jewelry collections.
Q: Is There A Standardized Grading System For Cultured Pearls?
A: Pearls have been bought and sold for thousands of years, but there still is no widely accepted standardized grading system, although individual vendors may employ their own. Part of the problem is that no two pearls are alike and that a grading system would require literally hundreds of quality parameters. In addition, some gem-quality pearls are so unique that they defy comparison.
Q: Will Pearls Last Forever?
A: Pearls need proper handling and attention for them to last for generations. If exposed to harmful products, such as cosmetics or abrasive detergents, over an extended period of time the luster of a pearl can be diminished. They should be wiped down with a soft, damp clost after each wearing and they periodically should be deep cleaned by a professional jeweler.