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Pearl Jewellery

There are two types of pearls used in jewellery: natural and cultured.

Natural pearls are formed naturally, without any human intervention and are very rare and expensive.

Cultured pearls are cultivated on oyster farms. To create them, a tiny bead is implanted into the oyster. Gradually, the oyster coats the bead in many layers of natural minerals and proteins known as nacre. It is the nacre that gives pearls their beautiful lustre and colour.

Shapes

  • Round: the rarest and most valuable
  • Button: slightly flattened
  • Drop: referred to as tear drops, ideal for pendants
  • Baroque: unique and interesting shapes

The larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. The most valuable pearls are South Sea and Akoya – black Tahitian pearls. Cultured pearls grown in rivers are called freshwater pearls. They vary in colour and shape and are less expensive than saltwater pearls.

Lustre

  • Lustre is the primary characteristic by which pearls are judged when shape, colour and symmetry are equal
  • Saltwater pearls are grown within pearl oysters in oceans. Today, saltwater pearl oysters are cultivated in protected lagoons and volcanic atolls.
  • The unique lustre of pearls depends on the reflection, refraction and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the lustre

Freshwater & saltwater

Saltwater pearls are grown within pearl oysters in oceans. Today, saltwater pearl oysters are cultivated in protected lagoons and volcanic atolls.

Natural freshwater pearls are formed within various species of freshwater mussels living in lakes, rivers, ponds and other freshwater sources.

Although freshwater and saltwater pearls look quite similar, pearls from the sea are more highly valued than freshwater pearls.

 

Tip

Pearls should be worn as often as possible, as the natural oils in the body keep them shiny and lustrous.