459EP Earstud pair in 9ct Yellow Gold Waterfall Design carved with attachment Broome South Sea PearlsKnown for their dramatic beauty, timeless appeal and lustrous sheen, pearls have been cherished throughout the ages, adored by Cleopatra. They’re the oldest jewels known to man, and the only gem made by a living animal. No other gem has retained such a level of value and desirability for as long as the pearl as a symbol of beauty, wealth and purity as wedding ornament.

What is the difference between natural and cultured pearls?

A natural pearl occurs when an irritant115RGWGPSD Ring in 18ct Yellow Gold and White Gold featuring a Japanese Biwa Pearl, pink Sapphs, .06ct yellow diamond or, more frequently, dead tissue cells get lodged in the flesh of the pearl oyster. To alleviate the irritation it covers the foreign body with smooth layers of nacre or Mother-of-pearl. Thus a round or baroque pearl is created.
If an irritant becomes stuck to the inside of the pearl shell, or another creature bores through the shell from the outside, again the oyster will coat the obstruction with nacre and a natural blister pearl is formed. 

500P Pendant in 18ct White Gold featuring Black Tahitian Pearl and 3 Diamonds in Brilliant CutThe cultured form of blister pearl (hemispherical) is called a half pearl, or Mabe. It is formed by securing a nucleus to the inside of the shell (dome, drop or heart shaped). When the oyster finds it cannot dislodge this obstruction, it covers it with layers of nacre.
The difference between a natural and cultured round pearl is that the cultured pearl has a core of solid, pure Mother-of-pearl implanted by man, whereas the natural pearl is purely a product of nature and good fortune. Size and shape of cultured pearls can be influenced by choosing such a nucleus, still taking one to two years to grow for a Mabe, two to three years for a round pearl. 118RSP Ring in 925Ag Sterling Silver featuring a black pearl gurdeled Tahitian Pearl

Akoya pearls are one of the most familiar type of cultured pearls, grown off the coast of Japan and known for their lovely orient and warm colour. They rarely grow more than 9mm in size.
Fresh Water pearls are cultivated in molluscs, not oysters in fresh water lakes and rivers. They are generally elongated in shape and have a milky translucent appearance. Their wide range of interesting shapes and colours make up in fashion appeal for their relatively lower value. 

Keshi pearls are formed seedless, occurring naturally in many cultured pearl oysters, Akoya and South Sea pearls. They also come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes.  
South Sea Pearls are produced by the Pinctada Maxima oyster, the largest of all pearl oysters, sometimes weighing over 2 kg, and measuring up to 40 cm across, producing cultured pearls of 10mm or larger.  It only grows in a few tropical areas of the world such as the north and north-west coast of Australia as well as the South Sea. South Sea Pearls are noted for their creamy nacre and rich silky lustre.

Indonesian Pearls can be 10mm and larger and are grown in large oysters (Pinctada Margaritifera – black lipped) off the islands of French Polynesia. Colours range from soft grey to black hues of reds, blues and greens.

Imitation or simulated pearl is anything else which resembles a pearl but has a Pearls natural saltwater Keshi 2-3mm wide, various lengths $22eachsurface created by a manufacturing process from glass, plastic, fish scales….. They don’t feel as cold to the touch as a natural or cultured pearl, can have a different sound of clonking when hit together or on a glass table and the drill hole can have a rim or split off layers of covering substance. Quite often they are evenly round without any blemishes on the surface, nearly too perfect.

Do the edible oysters produce cultured pearls?

Yes, but normally they are chalky and worthless (apart from the $200,000 pearl found once in an Australian oyster). It is said that pearls have no pedigree and that their beauty is not to be traced to their origin, but exists entirely in the excellence of the surrounding environment in which they develop.

Care for your Pearls:36NPGRB Pearl necklace & clasp in 18ct Yellow Gold, featuring Tahitian Pearl, Ruby and yellow Diamond in Brilliant cut

•    Don’t wear pearls while playing sport.
•    Anything harder than Pearls can scratch or damage their surface.
•    Expensive pearls should be knotted between each pearl to prevent loss in
the thread breaks.
•    Have your pearls restrung once a year, that usually includes cleaning.

Can you shower or bath while wearing pearls?

Drilled pearls should not be immersed for too long and not into saltwater or highly chlorinated water. Avoid direct contact with shampoo, body lotion, hairspray, perfume etc. The natural pearl threading silk is weakened by constantly immersing into water as well.

Do pearls deteriorate?

No, not from being worn on the skin. In fact it is important for them to be worn regularly. Pearls are an organic gem (the only one) and consist of 2% water. If allowed to dry out over a long period the colour could alter and the surface could dull. Worn frequently, the pearl is kept hydrated and polished by contact with the skin. The more it is worn the more it develops that incomparable glow and depth of lustre. In earlier times noble ladies were asked to ‘wear in’ precious pearls under the collar directly on their skin before they were sold.

Determine the value of a pearl

1. Lustre: The distinctive characteristic or great beauty of a true sea-grown pearl (natural or cultivated) is its lustre or orient. Lustre is a subdued shimmering iridescence or inner glow, as opposed to the glittering brilliance of the diamond, and is the most important consideration when selecting a pearl. Lustre is the measure of the pearl’s colour and light reflection and should be deep and bright – never dull. Without lustre it does not rank as a gem pearl, no matter how perfect its form or beautiful its colour. Lustre is most difficult to assess needing a lot of experience. It is dependent on the fineness of the pearl structure and the thickness of the nacre.
Common classification:    AAA = very good lustre
                                  AA =  good lustre
                                  A = fair lustre
                                 -A = poor lustre

2. Size: The prizes go up with the size. For round pearls 4mm is common, 7 mm is considered very big, anything above is called giant.

3. Shape: The pearl is shaped as nature intends, and is therefore different to all other gems which emerge in raw form and rely on the hand of the jeweller to gain their identity. Perfectly symmetric pearls, including round (spherical), pear shape, teardrops and oval, are extremely rare and are therefore highly prized. This does not mean however, that other shapes do not have their own unique charm and value. Pearls are found in an array of sizes and shapes, e.g. semi-round (slightly off round), egg,
smooth drop, Triangle, bell shaped, ‘Bouton’ = flat or button (cushion) shaped, circled (ringed), flat angle wing, semi-baroque and baroque pearls of irregular and asymmetrical shapes sometimes with trails. 

4. Colour: From luminescent whites to sparkling gold shades, the stunning range of natural colours is outstanding often producing a delicate sheen of rainbow colours, which seems to move over the pearl. While colour is not normally an indicator of the quality of pearls, premium prices are fetched for pearls displaying unusually beautiful orients of coloured overtones such as white Pink, Silver Pink, Rosé and Deep Gold.

5. Surface: The surface of a perfect pearl appears satiny smooth, but when viewed closely, natural or cultured pearls may appear to have irregularities, which do not diminish the value, but disfiguring blemishes, which are visible without magnifier will. Cracks, scratches, indentations, elevations and white spots reduce the immaculateness. A pearl is a fruit of nature, the natural gem of the ocean. Every pearl is unique.

So-called imperfections, irregularities and flaws distinguish every pearl from all others. Disturbances in the oyster's life are microscopically visible structure changes in the pearl. It is rare to find a pearl free from any surface blemishes. However, when found, a flawless surface will increase the value of a pearl significantly.
Common classification:    AAA = spots on 10% or less of the surface
                                  AA = spots on 30% or less of the surface
                                  A = small spots on more than 30% of the surface
                                 -A = large spots on more than 30% of the surface
Even cultured pearls are relatively rare as they can only be developed in limited areas of the world’s oceans in clean water and take years to grow. A perfect pair of pearls is very rare because nature makes few pearls exactly alike in orient, shape and colour.

There is an exhaustive set of standards by which cut gemstones are judged. But with the pearl, natural beauty is the overriding factor in selection. And because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different pearls captivate different people. A decorative jewelled clasp can support the beauty and value of your pearl necklace.

Selecting pearl necklaces

You can enhance your appearance and personality. Long necklaces are informal and versatile, while short necklaces can be sophisticated.

Choker necklets go well with a long neck and longer strands slenderize and appear to elongate the neck. For fair skinned women, rose-hued pearls are most flattering, while cream and gold colour pearls set off darker skin tones best.

Choker – length: 35-40cm (14”-16”) should nestle around the base of the neck in single or multiple strands.
Princess – length: 45cm (18”) just underneath the collar bones.
Matinee – length: 50-60cm (20”-24”) falls to the top of the cleavage.
Opera – length: 70-80cm (28”-32”) falls to the breastbone.
Sautoir or Rope – any pearl necklace longer than opera length.
Bib– multiple strands of pearls, each shorter than the one below, nestled together in one necklace.
Graduated – A necklace comprised of pearls which taper downward in size from large pearls in the centre to smaller pearls at the ends.
Uniform – appearing as pearls of the same size, though for a more proportionate look the centre pearls can be slightly larger.

Our unique Pearl Jewellery styles 

Australian South Sea Pearls, Tahitian South Sea Black Pearls and Akoya Pearls to choose yourself from photos in excellent quality and enquire for the price from us at:

498PS Pendant Art Nouveau Style in Sterling Silver 925Ag featuring black South Sea Pearl