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Pearl Education: How Long is Long? Pearl Strand Lengths

Important pearls of wisdom about various pearl strand lengths – from short choker pearls to pearls that wrap around and around and around….

Pearl necklaces come in five basic lengths: Choker, Princess, Matinee, Opera and Rope. You may have heard of some of the names but probably have no idea how long each is and, more importantly, how it sits on the neck and below.

Choker – 16 in

The pearl choker is the shortest length circling the neck. While a pearl choker can be worn with almost any neckline and looks great with every style, from casual to formal, make sure it doesn’t swallow the neck. Pearl chokers draw attention to the neck but if you have a particularly short or long neck, the attention should be drawn away from the neck to the shoulder line or below. As such, stay away from chokers. For everyone else, a choker is great classic, suitable for every occasion.

Princess – 18 in

A princess strand falls slightly below the neckline and compliments every neck-style from high to low. It’s great for office-wear as its length sits just above a blouse neckline and won’t be hidden like longer lengths.

Matinee – 24 in

The Matinee strand is most popular for formal occasions and is the perfect length for any little black dress event. It’s also the best length for those who are well endowed in the chest region as it highlights the neck and shoulders finishing just above the cleavage.

Opera – 32 in

Falling just below the bustline, the Opera strand is great for eveningwear and compliments every body shape. For less formal occasions, it can be doubled over and worn as a twin choker ? a true day into night piece.

Rope – 46 in

If it’s versatility you’re after, then a pearl rope is the style for you. By itself the strand generally falls somewhere around the waistline and is perfect for those that like to stand out from the crowd. Its length means you can play with styles from triple, or quadruple rows of a choker, to doubling it as Princess and Opera style together. Or try simply knotting it for a chic look that’s perfect with everything from jeans and a tee shirt to an elegant evening gown.

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Learn More About Pearls

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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Learn More About Pearls

The Jewelry Insider

September 13, 2008

Finding a giant gem – like the famous Hope Diamond – has long been the obsession of pirates and jewelry lovers alike. This week, one whopper of an oyster produced a five pound blister pearl in the waters off the Phillipines. According to expert gemologists, EGL USA, the pearl has been authenticated as one of the largest, and most valuable ever to be discovered and documented.

The brain-shaped specimen—a giant, non-nacreous natural blister pearl—was found in the giant clam Tridacna Gigas (a.k.a. the ‘killer’ clam) and measures over six inches in length.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime look at one of nature’s most unique treasures,” EGL USA Director Mitch Jakubovic said in their press release. “A pearl this size is not only the largest ever seen at EGL USA, it is among the largest ever seen anywhere.”

David Bidwell, senior appraiser of EGL USA’s appraisal affiliate, Universal Gemological Services, provided additional confidential counsel to the pearl’s owner, Hadjzad Biteng.

“This is clearly one of the most valuable pearls of its kind in the world today,” Bidwell said in the release. “Mr. Biteng is currently considering many exciting opportunities regarding its future. To coin a famous phrase, one could say that the pearl world is his oyster.”

You can say that again.