Pearls are organic gems and are given to us by nature. The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the mollusc between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. The mollusc's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl. Cultured pearls are created by the same process as natural pearls, but are given a slight nudge by pearl harvesters. To create a cultured pearl, the harvester opens the oyster shell and cuts a small slit in the mantle tissue. Small irritants are then inserted under the mantle. In freshwater cultured pearls, cutting the mantle is enough to induce the nacre secretion that produces a pearl an irritant doesn't have to be inserted.
While cultured and natural pearls are considered to be of equal quality, cultured pearls are generally less expensive because they aren't as rare. Pearls are classified as Natural or Cultured. Until Kokichi Mikimoto created cultured pearls, all pearls were natural. Nowadays, over 95% of the world pearl production is cultured.
Pearls are graded according to several characteristics – lustre, shape, colour, surface and size.
The quality of a pearl’s nacre gives the lustrous quality for which pearls are renowned.
Pearls can be classified into seven basic shapes: Round, near-round, oval, button, drop, semi baroque and baroque.
Pearls come in a wide range of natural colours/shades, and many pearls are dyed to suit fashion requirements.
Natural colours include the whites, creams, pinks, lilacs, silver and gold shades as well as black.
The fewer blemishes a pearl has, the more valuable it is. Blemishes are marks, bumps or little potholes which,in reality, give each strand its unique identifying factors. To find pearls without blemishes is rare and their price is likely to be high.
The larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. Usually it would have been in the mollusc longer, thus incurring a longer/higher investment cost.
Your pearl jewellery should add a finishing touch to your appearance AFTER applying make-up and doing your hair.
Don't wear pearls on your skin just after using body lotion. Deodorants, sprays, perfume and creams contain oily or bleaching substances. Good threading is an art in itself. Cultured pearls are usually knotted individually to prevent rubbing and limit loss in the event of the thread breaking. If you wear your pearls regularly, the natural oils in your skin and of course, general wear, will in time damage the silk thread, which could lead to stretching, fraying or worst, breaking. To keep your pearls in top condition, we advise that you bring them in for us to check annually.
After wearing your pearl jewellery wipe the pearls gently with soft tissue or cloth.
The easiest pearl care is this: place in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a year.
After washing your pearls, leave them to dry on a soft cloth for 24hours.
Pearl jewellery should be kept apart from other jewellery in pouches or boxes to avoid scratches or other damage.
Pearls should not be exposed to direct sunlight or heating for long.
The outer shell may dry up, causing a change of colour or a loss of lustre.