You don’t get much classier than Johannes Vermeer’s painting of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, 1665. Pearl earrings were once restricted to royalty in various countries like India, Japan, China, and Russia. Unlike diamonds, pearls do not need to be cut or polished to attain their lovely, natural beauty. The largest resource of pearl earrings was the Persian Gulf due to the combination of unique types of waters that flow into it. Following the discovery of oil, the pearl industry was abandoned. In this time and age, the largest manufacturer of pearls is China. Only one in forty different pearl oysters carry a pearl inside. Like diamond stud earrings and various other jewelry and ‘womanly’ accessories, both men and women donned pearl accessories. Men have often sought to obtain pearls due to their value and estimated power. Knights often wore pearls into battle as they were said to protect the wearer from harm.
Kinds of Pearls
Tahitian – Found around French Polynesia in large (up to 10 lbs) black-lipped oysters, Tahitian pearls come in a natural, dark color. Tahitian pearls that are black are considered the rarest type of pearl in the world, though these pearls tend to come in darker colors they are never true black. The oysters themselves were nearly hunted to extinction at the turn of the 20th century.
Golden – Also known as South Sea golden pearl come in a brilliant color that could easily be confused with the metal gold.
Freshwater – These kinds of pearls come from freshwater mussels only. They are cultured throughout the United States and Japan in a small amount, while a greater amount is reproduced in China. The only freshwater pearl farm in existence outside of Asia is located in Tennessee.
White South Sea – The Queen of the gems is one of the most valuable types of pearls produced in the world, grown primarily in Western Australia in a specific oyster, the Pinctada maxima pearl.
Akoya – Pearls from Asia (Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea, and Australia) and the smallest kind of pearl out there, ranging from sizes 2 to 11mm. Generally these pearls are cream colored as well as rose overtones, silver, and white.
There is nothing more classic than a strand of pearls. Did you know that it takes about 10,000 pearls to find enough matching stones for a pearl necklace? That’s a lot of oysters! Luckily, the culturing process means that we have the quantities needed to do this.
Natural beds are not reliable or plentiful enough. Controlled saltwater and freshwater pearl farms can be found in Asia, the U.S., Europe and Australia to help keep up with the popularity of this classic gemstone.
So, how do you farm pearls? The only difference between a culture pearl pendant and a natural pearl is that the farmer nudges the process along by inserting an irritant into the shell instead of waiting for it to happen naturally. The rest of the process is the same. The oyster or mollusk secretes nacre as a covering around the irritant. Layer upon layer, it builds up the gemstone until it is removed.
Cultured pearl earrings or a strand of pearls are a traditional gift to a new bride or a college graduate. The pearl is also the birthstone for June and the gemstone for the 30th wedding anniversary.
Because they are very soft with a 2.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, gently clean with damp cloth and never use chemicals. They will ruin the finish. It is also recommended that you have your strand re-strung every few years.
Pearls are not just for grandmas and special occasions. A pearl ring or bracelet is trendy and classic at the same time.
With Summer in full swing and daily rain showers, I’m feeling a little nostalgic and this vintage inspired style board fits right in. Take advantage of the Summer weather. Wear cool a-line day dress that would make your grandma proud. Ransack your closet for pieces done with flowers patterns. Put on a pair of creamy heels. And treat yourself to some precious, precious metals.
For a more modern spin, pair subdued pastels and muted flower prints with more vibrant shades of teal, purple and green. To really capitalize on the look, take timeless gems, like the pearl and pair them with yellow gold and pink tourmaline or slip into a pair of sparkling opal and diamond cocktail earrings.
We learned as children that summer was a time to relax and play. Don’t forget that. Even though we might not get our summers off anymore, we can still reflect the season’s vitality and fun in our wardrobe.
It’s summer, play with it.
paired with tourmalines and pearls for the perfect look.
Posted in fashion, Gemstone Jewelry, Style Boards
Tagged fashion, gemaffair.com, green, jewelry, pearls, style, style board, summer fashion, summer jewelry trends, summer style, tourmaline, vintage, yellow gold
It’s time for the beach, and I can’t wait…except for the bathing suit part. I figure why not wear pearls to the beach – give them a taste of home.
This style board features a Twilight Mystic Fire bracelet:
And my two favorites, the rose quartz & pearl diamond ring and the flowery pink & white opal ring:
This Thursday, I am flying to San Diego, hence the seaside-themed board. I won’t have time for a jaunt at the beautiful beaches as I have to immediately head back via vehicle, but may have time to oggle the seals on the shore. Possibly some Navy Seals as well. However, it will be dark so it will be a lot less fun.
Until my return, a question: Pearls come from the sea. They’re natural. They’re beautiful. How could anyone ever think they had gone out of style or were matronly?
Do you wear pearls? If so, what type? (earrings, necklace, pendant, ect.)
Dyed or naturally colored?
Irregular or regular?
Yes. All types, especially a string of pearls. I prefer natural, but peacock teal or magenta pearls seem to always find a way into my jewelry box. Depends – I like them all. Irregulars are affordable and the perfectly round Akoyas are investments. Investments in style. I like those kind of investments the best. My stock portfolio disagrees.
Posted in Rings, Style Boards, Tall Tale
Tagged beach, beach jewelry, dyed pearls, fashion, jewelry, pealrs, pearls, rose quartz, seashore, style, styleboard, summer, travel