Tag Archives: Pearl Education

The 401 on Freshwater Pearls

Pearl lovers and collectors, ever wonder what’s the deal with freshwater pearls? Well, read on to get schooled on these America’s favorite ladylike classic

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These lustrous lil’ stones (like most pearls on the market) are cultured which makes them a man-made creation. Typically, a small piece of tissue will be inserted in the pearl nacre. The pearl will start to grow but usually in an irregular shape. During the ’90s freshwater pearl gained popularity because of the variety of color and their affordability. Generally speaking freshwater pearls are grown in Japan, China and the United States. Fiending for more info? Check out these fun facts about pearls…


1. Freshwater pearl cultivation began around the time when America was discovered by the Europeans.


2. The finest freshwater pearls can be found in the Mississippi River, Scotland and China


Honora Set of Pearl Bracelets

3. Cultured pearls are freshwater pearls created with the assistance of the human hand.


Honora 60-Inch Pearl Strand

4. The culturing of freshwater pearls can take from 6 months to 2 years.


Pearl & 1/8 ct Diamond Drop Earrings

5. Only 25-30% of mollusks used for culturing pearls actually survive the process.


Victorian Ring





The Jewelry Insider

June 1, 2010

Pearl,the birthstone for June, is among the most timeless, classic and treasured ofall gems.

Throughout history, these noble gems have been associated with wisdom, wealth, purity, romance and mystery. The ancient Egyptians were buried with them. In Rome, pearls were considered the ultimate symbol of wealth and status. The Greeks prized them for their beauty and association with love and marriage. Medieval knights wore them in battle as a talisman against injury. And during the Renaissance, some European countries banned all but nobility from the right to wear them.

It’s hard to believe that such a luscious, beautiful gem comes from such humble origins. A natural pearl starts out as a grain of sand or microscopic worm that works its way into an oyster and cannot be expelled. To protect its soft body from this irritant, the oyster secretes a smooth, hard crystalline substance called nacre. Layer upon layer of nacre coats the foreign object and hardens, ultimately forming a pearl. In general, the thicker the nacre, the richer the ‘glow’ of the pearl – which can greatly enhance its value.

Although early pearl gathering depended on divers braving the oceans’ depths to retrieve these treasures, the vast majority of pearls today are grown, or cultured, on pearl farms by surgically inserting a small shell bead, or nucleus, into the mantle of an oyster.

Even though pearls are harvested en masse on pearl farms, producing a quality pearl is an extremely rare event. It is estimated that half of all nucleated oysters do not survive – and of those that do, only 20% bear marketable pearls.

When shopping for pearls, the five factors that determine value are luster (surface brilliance); surface cleanliness (absence of spots, bumps or cracks); shape (generally, the rounder the pearl, the higher its value); color (pearls come in virtually every hue of the rainbow, and a few others, too); and size (the average pearl sold is 7-7.5 millimeters, but these gems can be as small as 1 millimeter or as large as 20 millimeters).

Because pearls are soft, ranking only 2.5-4.5 on the Mohs scale for hardness, they require special care. Natural oils from the skin, as well as hair spray, lotions and cosmetics, can dull their luster. Like other jewelry, they should be cleaned with a soft damp cloth and stored in cloth or cotton away from other jewelry to prevent scratching. Also, avoid allowing your pearl to come in contact with harsh chemicals, which can erode its surface. And if worn frequently, pearl necklaces should be brought to a jeweler once a year for re-stringing to prevent strand breakage.

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