This month we are celebrating the birthstone, pearl. This fantastic rare and magical stone is different from all others and we want to tell you all about it, from the process of it being created to what it’s used for today.
The majority of gems need to be polished and cut to create its fantastic appearance before it’s ready to be used, however pearls are wonderfully organic. They come from mollusc, a natural resource which makes the formation of a pearl very rare and expensive.
Due to their rarity in comparison to their demand, the majority of pearls in shops are either cultured or cultured freshwater pearls – still natural, but farmed and helped along by mankind. These are the pearls that make up the majority of those that are currently being sold amongst our jewellers.
In order to understand the difference between the three different types of pearl, we have broken them down to an easier explanation.
A natural pearl is created in the wild when grit or an irritant gets into the oyster or mussel. In order to protect itself, the mollusc coats the irritant with nacre, a beautiful substance which creates the pearl. The spontaneous creation is the most valuable amongst the pearl family.
A cultured pearl is created when a mother of pearl bead and a piece of mantle tissue is inserted into the mantle tissue of another oyster. This stimulates the host oyster and covers it with pearly nacre which produces a perfectly round pearl. The quality is determined by the depth of the nacre and how long it is left inside the mollusc. The colour for a cultured pearl can range from white, through to slightly rose or greenish tints to creamy yellow.
A cultured freshwater pearl is a piece of mantle tissue that is inserted into the host oyster of different species of mollusc. The resultant pearl is normally less round and more mishaped, making it less lustrous than a cultured pearl. Cultured freshwater pearls have the flexibility of being dyed into a range of colours to keep up with fashionable trends. These include yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, purple or black.
A good quality pearl is noticeable from its metallic mirror – like luster. From these three types of pearls, they vary from this and that affects the price a considerable amount. Natural pearls take the lead by ranging off the scale when it comes to pricing.
In terms of the chosen market, jewellery tends to be the most popular choice for pearls, especially targeted at women. This includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. A classic, glamourous look, that has always proved popular amongst the female population. In more recent times, products for men have come on the scene as well. Thanks to the black pearl, it has become more attractive for the male market.
When it comes to valuing the natural pearl, similar techniques are used as if you were valuing any other “precious” gems. Factors tend to include size, shape, colour, quality of surface, orient and luster.
Pearls can also be used for much more than just jewellery. The unique, mystical stone can also be crushed down and used in cosmetics, medicines and in paint formulations. A very useful and practical stone compared to others.
We have recently been working with Yoko, a stunning jewellery maker who creates incredible pieces with pearls including necklace, rings, earrings and bracelets.
Yoko’s name originates from the meaning ‘ocean child’ which symbolises the virtue and immensity of the ocean that bore such beauty.
On their website they state that:
“Yoko represents the beauty of each individual pearl and the style and sophistication
of the ladies that wear them. It stands for the care and attention we take in
carefully selecting a pearl for a piece of jewellery and the hours we spend matching
enough pearls for a necklace. It signifies the elegance of our designs and
the passion we have for working with our product.
Yoko contains only the highest quality AAA and AA pearls, with VS quality diamonds
for all their jewellery. The designs are spectacular and rich, with a unique and
elegant style that is both timeless and modern. Most of the pieces in the Yoko Collection
are handmade, and many are one of a kind. Every piece in the Yoko collection
is covered by international guarantee.”
Pearl to us gives off a unique sense of innocence and beauty, which has remained constant and traditional within society – every lady needs a string of pearls.