Pearl – the most ancient of gemstones and Pearl Jewellery
Throughout time, people have been fascinated and bewitched by the pearl’s lustre, purity and perfection. No one knows for certain when the first pearls were discovered or when they became objects of adornment, but it is clear they have been highly valued since their discovery. Pearls are found in nature in a ‘finish’ state. Unlike gemstones, they need no cutting to reveal their splendour. This quality has enabled naturally occurring pearls to have value immediately, and it has also given them a certain mystique. In fact, the ancients – awed by the mystery of lustrous gems being created inside living organisms – thought that pearls were gifts from the gods.
Natural pearls have been featured in jewellery beginning with the earliest civilizations. Rare, lustrous pearls have adorned kings and queens, first ladies and movie stars. Queen Elizabeth I was such an admirer of the pearl that she shunned pearl that she shunned precious stones and chose to drape herself and her gowns in thousands of pearls. The most expensive and extraordinary jewellery in the world incorporates large natural pearls: La Peregrina, The Pearl of Asia, The Hope Pearl and The Paspaley Pearl are a few of the most famous examples. Pearls have the remarkable ability to bestow upon the wearer a sense of mystery, elegance and grace.
In recent years, the beauty of the pearl has become available to all, thanks to the widespread cultivation of freshwater pearls. Cultivators have developed new techniques that produce greater quantities and varieties of pearls. These cultivated pearls are not only available in their classic round and glistening white form but in a range of exotic and beautiful colours and shapes. Stylish and breathtaking pearl jewellery now graces the covers and interiors of every high-fashion magazine. With a wide variety of shapes, sizes and prices, pearls are not only used in classic designs but also in casual and modern ones. The popularity of the pearl has never been greater, and they are truly perfect for every style and occasion.
The Quality of a Pearl
This is measured by seven characteristics: nacre, lustre, orient, surface, size, shape and colour. An unofficial grading system applies to pearls with a scale from grade AAA (the highest grade) to C. Lustrous Jewellery uses a variety of grade A, AA, AAA pearls in our vast range of designs which is reflected by our prices; as Lustrous Jewellery sources our pearl material from the pearl farms as well as directly sources our other material, we are able to offer the best prices to our customers.
The nacre is judged by its thickness and quality. Thicker nacre is more desirable; this pertains to those freshwater pearls that are bead-nucleated, as mantle-nucleated freshwater pearls are basically all nacre. Make sure there are no cracks or peeling in the nacre, especially at the drilled hole.
Lustre is determined by the brilliance, or shiny depth, of the pearl. The pearl should not be only shiny on the surface but seem to radiate light from within.
The orient is the iridescent quality of the light. If the nacre is formed properly, the crystals will form a prism as the light reflects off the layers of nacre.
The quality of the surface is perhaps easiest to determine. The surface of the pearl should be free from blemish, smooth and uniform in appearance.
Size, shape and colour
For freshwater pearls, the size, shape and colour are more a matter of personal preference. In general, the rareness of the pearl determines the value.
Different Types of Pearls
Generally speaking, there are two types of cultured pearls—saltwater and freshwater cultured pearls which you might already guessed their difference from their names. Cultured saltwater pearls were invented by Japanese at the beginning of twentieth century and had been reduced to a negligible amount due to the pollution. Chinese cultured freshwater pearls have started expanding at the beginning of the twenty-first and are now a stable and consistent supply of the world’s over 98% cultured pearls. So if someone’s saying they are selling you 'Japanese Freshwater Pearl’ or 'Akoya Freshwater Pearl' you’ll know that's not true because those produce simply don’t exist!
As mentioned earlier, cultivation has enlarged the pearl family at a great scale, there are quite a few types are popular in pearl industry -- nearly round pearls, coin pearls, diamond pearls, potato pearls, square pearls, button pearls, teardrop pearls, oval/rice pearls, Biwa/Stick pearls, Keishi pearls, Baroque pearls, Mabe pearls – which almost are all included in Lustrous Jewellery designs.
Round Pearls: They continues to reign as the classic desired shape for a pearl, however other shapes are really liked by fashion/modern designers for their interesting shapes.
Oval Pearls: These are sometimes known as rice pearls, today's oval pearls are quite high in quality comparing to what they were decades ago. Some oval pearls are joined twins that grow in the same mollusk. They often have a seam in the middle.
Baroque Pearls: Pearls with irregular shapes are categorized as baroque. They can occur naturally in large fantastic shapes--some of the most impressive have been mounted in fine jewellery. The French term baroque originally applied to pearls, and only later wasa it used to categorize a style of music, art, and atchitecture.
Keishi Pearls: They are a sub category of baroque pearls. Occasionally the shell will expel the nucleus whilst still producing nacre; this results in a small irregular, unique, seedless Keishi pearl. Often called poppy or seed pearls (Keshi is Japanese for poppyseed), they have seen a great increase in popularity for their unique and elegant shapes!
Button Pearls: These are round on one side and flat on the other, because the pearl has attached to the shell of the mollusk.
Biwa Pearls: Also called 'stick pearls', Biwas were originally named after freshwater pearls cultured in Lake Biwa near Kyoto, Japan. Industrial pollution in Japan's famous lake ended production of the pearls in 1980. Tody's Biwa Pearls have the name and unique shape of the origianls, and they are produced in several freshwater locales in Japan and China.
The price of the pearls is determined by the quality of the pearls therefore the pearls’ seven characteristics listed above. For identical products for example, same size of button pearl stud earrings or an identical keishi pearl necklace/bracelet, the various prices in the market are purely depend on the individual retailer. Every item from Lustrous Jewellery is honestly priced as we believe this is what customers appreciate and also the factor will help us go a long way.