What do you know about pearls?

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What do you know about pearls?

For many years, pearls have been known for their color and luster. Here are the main characteristics of these ocean gems.


Early on, the value of a pearl depended on its supply. A pearl’s beauty emerges when an oyster opens up.

In the early 1900’s, some Japanese businessmen had patented the methods and tools to introduce foreign bodies into an oyster to produce pearls. In 1920, Japan became the biggest supplier of cultured pearls. Today, there are many farms all over the world, with China as the top producer of cultured pearls. During its season, one single mollusk can produce dozens of pearls. An oyster, on the other hand, can produce one or two pearls in the same amount of time.

Most pearls we see today are cultured pearls. Natural pearls are only displayed in antique or fine jewelry. The most expensive pearls are the pink ones, followed by the white, light cream, dark cream and yellow ones. Both fresh and saltwater pearls are sensitive to temperature changes, cosmetics, hair products and other chemicals.

Natural pearls are formed inside an oyster when an irritant works its way into an oyster. Natural pearls are the rarest and much more expensive than cultured pearls.

Cultured pearls are formed in the same way as natural pearls. The only difference is that the irritant or foreign substance is manually inserted by a human being. In addition, the oyster now becomes a controlled environment where the pearl grows. Cultured pearls are grown in special farms. Most of the pearls that are sold today are cultured pearls.

Here is a short description of the various pearls used in jewelry today:


1. Button pearls Button pearls are symmetrical pearls that are domed on the top with slightly flat bottom. They can be drilled lengthwise or through the center. Button pearls can also be double drilled.

2. Coin pearls are flat on both sides just like a coin or a disk. They can also be shaped like a teardrop, a square or a triangle. Coin pearls are drilled through their sides or from the front to the back of the pearl.

3. Carved pearls are cut to create different shapes after they have been harvested.

4. Imitation pearls are man-made. Therefore, they are consistent in size, shape and color. Some of the materials included in the manufacture of these pearls are glass, ceramic and plastic.

5. Keishi pearls are formed when waste or an irritant enters the oyster. A layer or nacre covers the irritant and a keishi in the shape of a corn flake is formed.

6. Potato pearls are oval or egg-shaped. They can be drilled lengthwise or diagonally

7. Rice pearls are small and shaped like a rice grain. They are usually drilled lengthwise.

8. Stick/Cane pearls are also called Biwa pearls. These are long and flat and can be drilled on the side, in the center or top, and diagonally.

9. Potato Pearls  They can be so different, that every time you see this name just remember how potatoes are.

The American Gem Society created the following classifications for semi-precious stones. Here are the terms to help you identify them.

Natural — It hasn’t been altered or improved.

Bleached— Its original color has been removed, changed with heat, light or other agents.

Colored — Dye is introduced to add, intensify or improve color and balance

Luminous — Color has been altered by using neutrons, gamma rays or beta particles

As you can see, pearls have different shapes, colors and characteristics. I promise to write a few more blogs about this topic so that together we can continue to learn more about all the different products I use in my jewelry.

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With everlasting passion,


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