Pearls have often taken a backseat to the ever-popular diamond, but that hasn’t dissuaded girls, and women alike from having their own pearl necklaces. To quote the French fashion designer Coco Chanel, “a woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” Even the former First Lady Jackie O. shared similar sentiments with, “pearls are always appropriate.” The pearl is timeless, and adds a classy touch to any outfit whether it’s casual, or formal.
Colors and Shades of Pearls
The most noticeable thing about pearls are their varying colors of white, as well as grays, pinks, and even blues. Darker shades of blue are exceptionally rare and exceedingly expensive. That’s what the average, everyday buyer’s knowledge extends to, but the classification of pearls go well beyond that.
Natural pearls, more commonly known as saltwater pearls, and freshwater pearls, form without any sort of human intervention. Due to their rarity in nature, most pearls are cultivated. Freshwater pearls are found in lakes or rivers inside mussels, and often come from China. Saltwater pearls are found in the ocean, created by oysters. They usually originate from Australia, Thailand, just to name a few. A freshwater pearl has a different composition than their saltwater counterpart, making freshwater pearls less lustrous, and glossy. As technology continues to improve, it will be harder to tell the two apart.
The Popularity of the Akoya
One of the most popular pearls available are the Akoya pearl, grown in Japan from the Akoya oyster in small farms. The Akoya pearl is the earliest example of a cultured pearl, dating nearly a hundred years ago. This particular pearl is favored by most retailers due to their size, the round shape, smooth surface, and a mirror-like lustre. Most Akoya pearls are ranked as “excellent,” top of the top, due to the fact that they can be easily matched due to sharing the same round shape, or near-round.
Akoya oysters produce cultured pearls around in around 10 to 18 months. While it’s estimated that less than half of the oysters survive through the process of forming the pearl, also known as nucleation, even a smaller percentage are deemed high enough quality by buyers for use in the jewelry industry.
In addition to pearl necklaces, pearl anklets are fashionable in come circles. Pearl bracelets, pearl earrings, or even custom jewelry can be found everywhere from a local market to online vendors. Ensure that you deal with a quality vendor before you make any significant purchase of pearl jewelry.