Pearls remain among the most beloved gems over time. Men and women appreciate having access to both natural and modern cultured pearls, and they come in a range of colors. This ensures every person will discover a pearl they love and want to own. White and cream serve as the most common colors of pearls, but people find silver, gray, and black versions. However, nature provides even more variation when it comes to gemstones.
When a loved one would like pearl jewelry and a person goes to buy her pearls, they find the main color of the gem often is altered with the help of overtones. The additional colors are often pink. However, they may also come in blue, purple, or gold. In addition, certain pearls feature an iridescent coloring referred to as orient. Designers must know the differences between the different types of pearls when they wish to create a piece.
A jewelry designer will probably use cultured pearls when making bead necklaces or bracelets. They also mount these gems in earrings, necklaces, and rings. A person might find a solitaire gem or the maker might choose to place them in pairs or clusters. With so many options available to them, the sky is the limit. In fact, many designers search out large pearls in distinct shapes and use them to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
Understanding the Similarities and Differences in N atural and Cultured Pearls
Certain mollusks, such as oysters, produce natural pearls. The living mollusks reside in bodies of water around the globe, including in oceans and lakes. When an irritant makes its way into the mantle tissue of a mollusk, the creature produces a substance known as nacre. This thick natural liquid surrounds the irritant to protect the mollusk from it. Over time, the nacre builds up and creates a pearl. The mollusk only creates one pearl at a time and does so without human help or interference.
Cultured pearls, in contrast, require human help to develop. Pearl farmers today raise mollusks devoted specifically to this purpose. However, the farmers also use wild mollusks when possible. To create a pearl, a scientist or other trained professional pulls mantle tissue from one mollusk and introduces it into the mantle tissue of a different mollusk. When doing so, the technician may insert a shell bead into the recipient mollusk. If they skip this step, multiple pieces must be introduced into the recipient mollusk.
When the scientist uses a shell bead, the tissue of the mantle grows around it forming a sac. The mollusk then secretes nacre into the sac and onto the bead. This step is repeated until a cultured pearl form. The process takes less time, as the shell bead forms the foundation of the pearl.
If the technician doesn’t use a shell bead, the mollusk secretes nacre, which then forms around the mantle tissue piece already introduced into the recipient’s mantle tissue. Workers monitor the process and care for the mollusks until the process is complete.
Most lustrous pearls today were created with the help of a shell bead. They remain real pearls. However, buyers must take care when purchasing cultured pearls. Some farmers rush the process, and the coating on the shell bead isn’t very thick. As a result, it may wear off quickly or peel. This leaves a pearl that isn’t visually attractive and the owner is left with an item of little value.
Major Pearl Types
Cultured whole pearls come in four major types. Buyers need to know what to look for when purchasing. They want to know what they are spending their money on.
Akoya cultured pearls come from Japan or China. These pearls serve as the most common type of saltwater cultured pearl available today. When a person brings to mind the white or cream pearls used for single-strand necklaces, they are probably thinking of akoyas. Kokichi Mikimoto, a Japanese businessman, has been charged with creating the world’s first cultured pearls. As a young child, Mikimoto found pearls fascinated him. He decided to try his hand at creating them in a lab, using saltwater mollusks to achieve this goal. Mikimoto succeeded in creating saltwater pearls in mollusks, and this discovery led to the popular cultured pearl market.
Scientists were already cultivating blister pearls with the help of freshwater mollusks. These pearls grow on the inner part of the shell and feature a flat black. If they are removed from the mollusk and used in jewelry, they are known as mabe pearls. Colors range from light pink to shades of blue that gleam like rainbows.
South Sea cultured pearls come from different regions of the world, including Indonesia and Australia. These pearls come in shades of white, silver, and gold. The oyster used to create the pearl determines the color, and these pearls remain in high demand. As a result, they cost more than many of their counterparts. Furthermore, they require critical growing conditions and time is needed to create them, thanks to the thick nacre and the large size of the pearls. This likewise adds to the cost.
Tahitian cultured pearls usually come from the French Polynesian islands and receive their name from the island of Tahiti. More commonly known as black pearls, the saltwater cultured pearls come in several colors. Black, brown, and gray serve as the primary colors, and the pearls may come with overtones in purple, pink, green, and blue.
Today, the most commonly produced pearl is the freshwater cultured pearl. Jewelry designers and shoppers alike love having this option available to them. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Shoppers appreciate the affordable price associated with freshwater cultured pearls. Farmers often raise the mollusks in freshwater ponds and lakes, and a single oyster can produce multiple pearls. Most freshwater cultured pearls today come from China.
When shopping for pearls, ask where the pearls come from. This question alone provides a great deal of detail about the piece being considered. If a jeweler is unwilling or unable to answer your questions, look elsewhere for the item you wish to buy. Consumers who do so find they are satisfied when they do choose a piece, as they know exactly what they are spending their money on.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.