Since pearls are so rare
and possess such a high degree of natural beauty,
they have been considered to be among the most
splendid of gems for many centuries.
people of India and Persia (Iraq) were among
the earliest to collect pearls, because of
the rich fisheries of Ceylon and the Persian
Gulf, the Indian and Persian princes in the
last century, acquired huge collections of
pearls that have never been equaled, these
collections would be worth hundreds of millions
of dollars today.
A Natural Wonder :
or real pearls are made by oysters and other
mollusks. Cultured pearls also are grown by
mollusks, but with human intervention; that
is, an irritant introduced into the shells
causes a pearl to grow. Imitation pearls are
man-made with glass, plastic, or organic materials.
pearls are very rare, most pearls used in
jewelry are either cultured or imitation pearls.
Cultured pearls, because they are made by
oysters or mollusks, usually are more expensive
than imitation pears. A cultured pearl’s
value is largely based on its size, usually
stated in millimeters, and the quality of
its nacre coating, which give it luster. Jewelers
should tell your if the pearls are cultured
or imitation. Some black, bronze, gold, purple,
blue and orange pearls, whether natural or
cultured, occur that way in nature; some,
however, are dyed through various processes.
Jewelers should tell you whether the colored
pearls are naturally colored, dyed or irradiated.
Clams, oysters, mussels and many other mollusks
with limy shells are known to produce pearls.
But very few kinds yield gem pearls of jeweler's
quality. The pearl is an abnormal growth of
mother-of-pearl, or nacre, imbedded in the
soft bodies of these shellfish. It is built
up, layer upon layer, in the same way as nacre
is added to the lining of the growing shell
and always has the same color and luster.
For example, over the country, hundreds of
good-sized pearls are found each year in the
oysters we eat. Unfortunately these have no
commercial value regardless of whether they
have been cooked or not because they are dull
opaque white or purple like the shell of the
parent oyster. In recent times almost all
pearls of gem quality come from the oriental
pearl oyster which has a bright shimmering
A pearl starts
growing when some irritating foreign substance
such as a sand grain, bit of mud, parasite
or other object becomes lodged in the shell-producing
gland called the mantle. Pearls formed in
the soft flesh where nacre can be added on
all sides are most likely to be spherical
and the most highly prized. By far the great
majority are flattened or variously distorted
and have little value. Size, color, luster
and freedom from flaws are other essential
qualities. Unlike other gems, such as diamonds,
pearls have an average life of only about
50 years. In time the small amount of water
in a pearl's make-up is lost and its surface
cracks. Because they are mostly lime, necklaces
which are worn often are injured by the acid
secretions of the human skin.
Though, the pearl is not technically a stone
at all, it’s beauty has earned it a
place in the Big 5 of precious stones. Jewelry
artists have long appreciated the pearl and
continue to utilize its charm in their creations
Buying pearl jewelry can be fun, exciting
and confusing. Whether you’re considering
a gift of pearl jewelry for someone special
or as a treat for yourself, take some time
to learn the terms used in the industry.
jewelry: pearl rings, pearl earrings, pearl
pendants and pearl bracelets are some of the
most sought after jewelry creations.
tell you how beautiful a piece of pearl jewelry
is, but how do you know you are getting your