Pearl Guide

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What Are Pearls


Pearls are the only biological Gemstone and are prized for their intense, milky luster and shiny iridescence.
Pearls are created when an irritant, like sand, gets stuck in a mollusk's soft tissue. The mollusk responds by covering the irritant in nacre also known as mother-of-pearl, a crystalline substance that creates the iridescent visual effect attributed to pearls. The pearl grows in size as the nacre builds new layers. Natural pearls are so rare and expensive because only a small number of Oysters will produce a jewelry-worthy Pearl and be discovered in the wild.
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Natural Pearl Range of Colours

More on Pearls

The Past: Only nobles and the extremely wealthy could possess pearls for most of recorded history.
Current Times: Pearls only became accessible to everyone when the Japanese discovered a cultivating method in the early 1900s.

Shell Pearls: The shell pearl is laboratory made from the shell of an Oyster. The process of making a shell pearl involves several different stages. The raw material for the base of the pearl is the sea shell, which is coated and polished to the final shape of the pearl. In order to produce a good quality pearl, a key ingredient is what we call a 'mother of pearl bead'. This element adds weight, value and durability to the pearl. In fact, the materials used in order to make shell pearls are the same materials from which cultured pearls are made. Colours can be controlled during manufacture.

Cultured/Cultivated Pearls: Cultivated Pearls are not artificial. Cultivated means the pearls were made by manually placing an irritant into the shell so the mollusk produces a Pearl.

Consider: Pearl colour - the main colour of the Pearl, usually shades of white, cream, gold, or black. Translucent colours called overtones can give the Pearl additional iridescence. Pearl luster - how the Pearl looks when light moves through it. Each light acts as a mirror and reflects light, which gives the pearl its coveted glow. Luster is what makes a Pearl beautiful, and is the most important trait. Pearl surface - since they are natural Gemstones, Pearls have small blemishes, spots, indentations, or other small imperfections.

Types: Akoya pearls from China or Japan are supremely shiny and usually white with silver or rose overtones. Akoya pearls, the original cultured pearls, are consistently round and grow to be between 2 and 13mm.

Tahitian pearls are actually cultured in French Polynesia from black-lipped oysters. These mysterious and exotic pearls are naturally coloured blue, black, silver or gray with green, purple or blue overtones. Tahitian pearls are between 8 and 16 mm wide and the most valuable colours are black with green overtones. Freshwater pearls are farmed in rivers and lakes, mostly from China. They grow between 2 and 13 mm, come in both round and irregular shapes, and are more affordable than saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls naturally are white, but jewelry makers can dye them to create high fashion jewelry.

Shape: Shape influences a pearl's quality grade and price. A pearl usually maintains the shape of its irritant, so pearl farmers insert round nuclei in oysters to try to create perfectly round pearls. Only 5 to 10% of the cultivated pearls grow to be even and round.

Grade: Pearls are classified as being spherical, symmetrical or baroque. Round pearls - the most coveted, rare and expensive pearls are perfectly spherical. Near round pearls - round but not perfect spheres. They look like perfectly round pearls to the untrained eye, but are much less expensive. Near round pearls are classified as spherical pearls.

Care: A pearl's luster can be damaged by cosmetics, hairspray and perfume. Avoid applying perfume where pearls will be worn and put on pearl jewelry after makeup and hair is complete. Use a soft, damp micro-fiber or lint-free cloth and mild soap to gently wipe off body oil, perspiration, cosmetics and residue after every use. Thoroughly clean pearl jewelry periodically, but do not use a sonic jewelry cleaner. Pearls are delicate and should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent damage. Wrap pearls in soft cloth or store in a soft pouch or lined box to prevent scratches, dents and cracks.
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Pearl Earrings Classy and Contemporary

Taking Care of Your Pearl

A pearl's luster can be damaged by cosmetics, hairspray and perfume. Avoid applying perfume where pearls will be worn and put on pearl jewelry after makeup and hair is complete. Use a soft, damp micro-fiber or lint-free cloth and mild soap to gently wipe off body oil, perspiration, cosmetics and residue after every use. Thoroughly clean pearl jewelry periodically, but do not use a sonic Jewelry cleaner. Pearls are delicate and should be stored separately from other Jewelry to prevent damage. Wrap pearls in soft cloth or store in a soft pouch or lined box to prevent scratches, dents and cracks.
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