Pearl Tip Sheet: Basic Pearl Types and How They Are Made

Iridescent and creamy white in color, it is hard to imagine another accessory that is as flattering and timeless as pearls. Whether they are cultured, faux or real, pearls at the ear or around the neck can be a lovely and simple touch to any outfit. Elegant pearl jewelry complements both elegant evening wear, the most classic business clothes and are the ultimate team player of fine jewelry and accessories.

How Pearls are Formed

When a grain of sand, or a small foreign object, floats into an oyster’s shell a pearl is formed. To ease the discomfort caused by the pebble or small irritant, the mollusk secrets a crystalline substance called nacre. The nacre coats the object repeatedly to create layers upon layers of a pearl’s outer coating.
In real or natural pearls, the ocean floor sweeps the small objects into the mollusk’s shell. In cultured pearls, a craftsman places a small bead into the oyster to create a pearl. After two to three years of the pearl maturation process, the oysters are harvested and the cultured pearls are removed.

Pearl Shapes, Sizes and Colors

The best pearls have an unblemished and smooth surface and are perfectly round. Natural and cultured pearls come in a range of colors from white to charcoal gray or black. The most costly color for the classic string of pearls is a color called rosate, which is a pinkish white color.
As the size of the pearl grows, so does their cost. The average pearl size ranges from four millimeters (which is the size of a small peppercorn) to nine millimeters, which is the diameter of a green pea. Pearl sizes of 10 millimeters or higher are much more expensive and popular with the fashionable set.

Pearl Traditions, Myths and History

Many cultures associate pearls with purity and innocence. The ancient Greeks referred to pearls as wedding gems and believed that they would help new brides from crying. The Persian Empire’s mythology believes that pearls are hardened tears. While ancient Chinese myths claim that pearls originated from the brains of dragons.

Pearl Types

When you are shopping for pearls, here is a tip sheet to help you recognize the most popular styles and pearl types.
  • Cultured pearls or Japanese pearls – Also known as pinctada fucata, they range in size from four mm to (the very expensive and rare) 12 mm. These pearls have a uniform look and are produced in Akoya oysters – where they live in the shallow waters off Japan.
  • South Sea pearls – These pearls are beautiful, rare and big, range from 9 mm to 20 mm in size, and are referred to as pinctada maxima.
  • Tahitian pearlsPintada margaritifera range between 9mm and 20 mm and are harvested from the Polynesian black-lipped oyster.
  • Mabe pearls – These teardrop or round-shaped pearls are formed on the shell of an oyster.
  • Faux or imitation pearls – The simulated pearls are created by dipping small glass balls into an iridescent mixture of oyster fluids and fish scales. 
Presented by ShaneCo.


2 comments

  1. Wow nice tips shared

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  2. Pearls are beautiful and pearl jewellery looks classic. One can wear them with almost any outfit and on any occasion. Whether you are going in a business party, business meeting, friend’s house, birthday party, get together or any other occasion you can wear pearl jewellery. It looks elegant and iconic. As much as strands are there in the jewellery the more jewellery will look stylish.

    There are freshwater pearls, black pearls and many more. One should buy a real pearl and not an intimation pearl. Rub the pearls together and in case they slide and doesn’t have any friction, then it is an indication that the pearls are not real ones. Pearls are available in different colours and there are almost eight type of designs in which pearls are available which includes circular, oval and many more shapes. The size as well as the design of the pearl matter a lot. Whether you are buying a pearl necklace, pearl ring, pearl bracelet or any other stylish pearl jewellery choose the right size and design which can give you a classy look.The weight of the pearl also plays a crucial role and many people buy pearl jewellery these days, so it is better to have some knowledge before purchasing and jewellery item. I was reading some information about pearl jewellery items size and weight. I thought of sharing it. You can also read the information at this page https://www.pearlsofpurity.com/sizing-and-measuring/

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