Things You Need to Know About Pearls
Pearls have always been a symbol of elegance, timelessness and are one of the top trends in jewellery. Read here everything you need to understand about pearls if you are a newbie to this luxuriant yet fragile gemstone.
Pearls are gemstones which stand out from the rest. Unlike many jewels, they are organic, born from animals rather than the earth’s crust or mantle. They are also uncommon in that they can take months to a few years to form, as opposed to the millions of years stones such as diamonds or sapphires take. It is known that pearls are gems of the sea. But when it comes to understanding the value of a pearl or purchasing pearl jewellery, that's all you might know. But it takes more to make an educated choice.
So, here are a few things you need to know about pearls:
Types of Pearls
Pearls are broadly classified as natural and cultured pearls. Natural or wild pearls are found by chance by shellfish harvesters. There is no human intervention involved. However, finding a pearl through this process is an extreme rarity, due to which they are sold at a higher price point. Natural pearls may also be smaller in size when compared to cultured pearls.
Cultured pearls are produced in a pearl farm with human intervention. Here, an irritant is inserted into the molluscs’ shell. A majority of pearls found in marketplaces today are cultured, and most of them come from China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia. Cultured pearls are further divided into:
- Akoya Pearls – Often referred to as "classic pearls”, Akoya pearls have grown off the Japanese coast for the past 100 years. When you imagine the classic strand of round white pearls, you’re thinking of Akoya pearls as they are known for their perfectly round shape and reflective lustre.
- Freshwater Pearls – These are the least expensive pearls and the perfect choice for women who are fashion conscious. Their baroque shapes and a wide range of pastel colours are famous. They are also less lustrous than Akoya pearls.
- Tahitian Pearls – Often called "dark and exotic," these Pearls are naturally black pearls but also found in green, blue and grey. They are usually found in French Polynesia. Round Tahitian pearls are very rare and are often seen as drops and ovals.
- South Sea Pearls – These pearls are known as the Rolls-Royce of Pearls as they are the largest seawater pearls grown today. They are found in Indonesia, Philippines and Australia with colours ranging from white to gold. Their enormity in size makes them quite rare, but perfect for a statement necklace.
Differentiate Between Real and Fake Pearls
Real pearls have an abundance of natural beauty and value. On the other hand, fake pearls are priced at less cost. The faux, costume or imitation pearls are made of plastic, glass or fish-scale imitation. Here are some easy ways to differentiate between real and fake pearls:
- When viewed under a magnifying glass, you will be able to spot surface ridges similar to sand dunes on real pearls. Counterfeit pearls will either look smooth or have bubbles.
- Real pearls will have an enriched body colour with overtones of other shades. Fake pearls will look white and flat.
- Real pearls are cold to the touch. You won’t feel the same coldness while handling fake pearls.
- If you were to rub real pearls across your teeth, they will feel gritty, while fake ones would feel smooth.
- Real pearls will appear smooth around holes drilled into them. Fake pearls will show bumps or some roughness.
What to Look for While Buying Pearl Jewellery
It's not very often people buy jewellery. It is good to keep certain things in mind while purchasing jewellery if you are someone who only likes to own a couple of pieces. It's the same for your pearls. Pearl jewellery is slightly different from others as they are formed within a living organism. This plays a significant part in the purchase of pearl jewellery.
- Natural pearls are extremely rare and hence several times more expensive than cultured pearls. Educate yourself on the different types of pearls.
- The number of layers of nacre and their thickness determine the quality of a pearl. Therefore, a pearl’s lustre influences its value.
- Perls are classified according to their surface smoothness. Blemish-free pearls are available at premium prices; small spots do not lower their value as much as chips or cracks.
- A pearl’s price will increase exponentially with its size.
Now that you know all about pearls, you can move to jewellery stores to peruse and purchase the exquisite collection of pearl jewellery of your own.