A pearl is considered as a symbol of beauty and purity. It’s either natural or cultured and is a bright object that is hard in texture. It’s produced from the soft tissue of a shelled mollusk. It’s also obtained from an animal like the conularid, and it is made up of calcium carbonate in crystalline form. Pearls are known to be smooth and round; they are also available in other shapes, like baroque pearls. Most precious pearls occur in the wild, and they are termed as natural pearls. The majority of pearls that are found in the market are known as cultured pearls. They come from pearl oysters cultivated in freshwater.
Pearls are the only gems that are obtained from living creatures; these are both salt and freshwater. Most pearls in the market are mostly cultured since the old ones are scarce for purchase. First, you need to know if the pearl is natural or cultured. Whether it’s a saltwater pearl or freshwater pearl, there is no difference in value.
Akoya is a category of saltwater pearls, and it’s grown in Japan and China. They have a round shape, are available in white, gold or cream shades, and come in sizes that range from 2 mm to 10 mm. The South Sea pearl is found in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines. Tahitian pearls are not really from Tahiti, and their size ranges from 8mm to 16mm; they come in many colors like gray, blue, purple, and green; even though they are termed as black pearls. Freshwater pearls are from freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers in China. They are available in different shapes and colors as well.
Factors to consider when buying Pearls:
- The type of oyster used to produce a pearl determines its color. The shade can also determine its value. Color choice is a personal preference, and it ensures that you choose vibrant colors, and the pearl color is well distributed. The shade can range from silver and gold for a South Sea Pearl, Black Tahitian pearls, and white Akoya pearls.
- Size of the pearl affects the price, even though it does not affect the cultured pearl quality. Pearls come in millimeters measures (mm).
- The amount of light a pearl can reflect from the surface glow and deep mirror reflection is called Luster. The better the pearl nacre (mother of pearl) quality, the better the luster.
- Shape: Pearls that are round are considered rare and valuable. Other shapes are also preferred like teardrop, baroque, and button.
- Pearls come with blemishes and tiny marks; this forms part of its texture and makes it genuine. These marks are formed from sea particles that cause friction against the pearl.
There are four known pearls:
- Fresh water pearls: Natural freshwater pearls and Cultured freshwater pearls
- Tahitian Pearls
- Akoya Pearls
- Southeast Pearls
If you want to know whether a pearl is real or not, you can use a “tooth test.” To do that, you need to rub the pearl lightly against the tooth and note that it’s not against the edge. This helps avoid scratches on the pearl. The pearl should feel gritty rather than simulated, and this happens to natural or cultured pearls. There are imitation pearls in the market, and they are mostly man-made and formed from beads. They are made to look like real pearls. The raw materials used include glass, plastic, and real mollusk shell.
How should Pearls be stored?
- A pearl needs to be kept in a soft cloth, like Jersey Pearl pouches because they help prevent scratches. Avoid jewelry boxes because they tend to scratch and damage the pearls due to sharp edges.
- Pearl jewelry should always be put last in your jewelry purse, after hairspray and perfumes. This is because the products contain alcohol and harmful acid.
- Use a damp cloth after you wear your pearls, to wipe them
- Don’t put the pearls in soapy water, use a damp cloth with mild soapy water (no detergent)
- No mechanical systems should be used, like steam because pearls are sensitive to heat.
- Ensure you wear pearls occasionally and not daily, that is, if you don’t have protective settings.
Pearls are known to be diverse, and they are available in different sizes, colors, price, design, and quality. This means no matter your budget, you can purchase a pearl of your choice. No pearl is better than the other; each is fabulous in its own way. With different pearls outlined, it’s easy to choose which one you want to buy.