Your Pearl Guide: The Creation and Beauty of Pearls
Pearls are gorgeous! If you look closely at a quality pearl, you will see a sheen that reflects light off the surface, with subtle iridescent colors of the rainbow.
How are pearls created with such beauty?
In natural pearls, a grain of sand, some other foreign element, or even a tiny organism has gotten into the oyster or mollusk and slipped between the folds of it. To reduce the irritation that this sand creates for the mollusk, it secretes a smooth crystalline substance called nacre, or mother of pearl. It’s the same material that forms the inside of the shell. It’s a combination of calcium carbonate and protein. Fun fact: nacre is both lighter and stronger than concrete. The nacre covers that “intruder” over and over again until there is a round spherical shape or an odd ball shaped pearl.
Until the oyster or mollusk is harvested, it continues to secrete this nacre, adding layer upon layer, for years, which adds to the pearl’s beauty and value. Manufacturers can also stimulate this process for cultured pearls by inserting a spherical bead in the nucleus of the pearl. It can be done in saltwater or freshwater.
Pearls are also mysterious in a way. How do we determine the value of a pearl?
It has to do with the beauty of the pearl, the luster and smoothness of the surface, the color, the shape, and the size. The rarer the combination of all these factors, the higher the price. According to the Gemological Institute of America, each of these variables has different gradations that are determined when appraising a pearl or a combination of pearls as in a necklace, bracelet, or hoop earrings. You can read about this grading here: https://cutt.ly/otq5FX7
When I look for pearl jewelry for LooptyHoops, first I look at the sheen of the pearl. Does the light reflect off the pearl in a “sharp” way? If so, then it will have a high shine. If not, the shine will be dim.
Is the nacre thick enough on the pearl that it contributes to this shine?
Then I look at the surface smoothness of the pearl. Is it fairly free of blemishes? And, of course, is the pearl round?
If it is a necklace or a series of pearls on a hoop, I check to be sure they match each other well. Is the color, size, luster, and surface smoothness the same? That will contribute to the overall beauty of the jewelry. Finally, I make sure the supplier is charging us a fair price so I can offer it to our customers with confidence and comfort.
Pearls hold one of the 12 coveted birthstone months – June – which is a time of great celebrations. Between graduations and weddings, pearl jewelry is a perfect gift to give in June.
Pearls have been in fashion for many centuries. Worn by royalty, they are symbols of beauty, purity, and fertility. Many of you have seen Queen Elizabeth wear a classic double pearl necklace, and I remember First Lady Barbara Bush often accessorizing with a bold pearl necklace, single, double, or triple strand.
Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn wore beautiful pearl jewelry and today, you only need to google “celebrities who wear pearls” to see some of your favorite entertainers or models wearing gorgeous pearl jewelry.
Pearls are classic and timeless in style and fashion. Do they have a place in your jewelry box, ready to be worn?
References used for this article were:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m07OvPEoR6g Natl Geo WILD on You Tube.