The Pearl - Prettiest Of All Gemstones
The pearl is the prettiest of all the gemstones available on earth. Widely used in jewelry, the pearl is as pure as it appears. It’s a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. Being the gemstone that represents the moon – it is equally as soothing.
Chemically, the pearl is a minute crystalline form of calcium carbonate, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The word pearl itself has become a metaphor for the rarest, finest, and most admirable and valuable...because of this trait, ItsHot.com has fused some of the finest quality pearls into their diamond jewelry.
Despite their availability, it’s important to ensure the source of the pearls when you buy them. A piece of jewelry made of it can be classified into two genres: naturally occurring pearls and cultured pearls.
These two genres are then further classified into freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls. These varieties of cultured pearls differ only in the ways utilized to produce them. Saltwater pearls are grown in bays, inlets and atolls in many places around the world. Freshwater pearls are grown primarily in man-made lakes and reservoirs in china. We’ll take a look at how pearls are made, as well as dive deeper into the classifications of the pearls.
How Pearls are Made
The creation of a pearl (natural pearl) is truly a remarkable and miraculous event. Pearls are formed when a parasite, or some type of irritant, enters a bivalve mollusk’s soft mantle. Once that parasite enters the soft mantle, the mollusk will cover the parasite in a sac and form layers of nacre around it. Nacre is essentially that smooth, shiny substance that covers the inner shell of the mollusk. Over time, those layers around the parasite will turn into a pearl. Today, it’s very hard to find natural pearls. A very small percentage of mollusks actually form pearls, but those that do, need a good amount of time to do so. Meaning that the thicker the nacre, the more valuable the pearl will be.
Cultured pearls are created in bivalve mollusks just as natural pearls are. The difference in a natural pearl and a cultured pearls is that parasites and irritants enter the mollusk naturally; it just kind of floats and makes it way into the mollusk’s soft mantle naturally. With cultured pearls, the parasite (or irritant) is manually inserted into the mollusk.
This process allows for an increase in pearl production, and has made pearls more cost effective for consumers. For the lover of any and all creatures, this process can sound a little harsh, but in the jewelry world, this is actually a normal way of business.
Natural pearls are still in the money-making business, but the process is so delicately time consuming that it can cost a buyer quite a bit of money, making cultured pearls a more affordable route to take when buying pearls. You still get the beauty and elegance, just at a lower price.
Mollusks can form pearls in freshwater. Some examples of freshwater include ponds, rivers, and lakes. Freshwater pearls can be cultured too. The way that process works is, a piece of the mollusks own mantle will be inserted into its flesh. Mussels are typically the mollusks that form freshwater pearls.
Saltwater pearls are produced by saltwater mollusks. The type of saltwater mollusk is primarily the pearl oyster. Natural saltwater pearls resemble natural freshwater pearls in shape and color, but when a saltwater pearl is cultured, there is a visible slight difference. Cultured saltwater pearls have been said to appear to have more of a perfect spherical shape to it...maybe that particular beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There are a few more traits one should pay attention to before investing in any form of pearl jewelry:
- Shape - Perfectly round and smooth is the ideal shape of a pearl, but many other shapes of pearls do occur.
- Size - The larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. Large, perfectly round pearls are rare and highly valued. Teardrop-shaped pearls are often used in pendants.
- Combination - The value of the pearls in jewelry is determined by a combination of the luster, color, size, lack of surface flaw and symmetry that are appropriate for the type of pearl under consideration.
- Luster - Among all other attributes, luster is the most important differentiator of pearl quality, according to jewelers.
Moreover, proper care of the pearl is equally important. As pearls are the world’s only organic gemstone, and are quite delicate, proper care of your pearl jewelry is essential to ensure that your investment lasts a lifetime.
Chemicals in any form can severely damage the luster and beauty of a pearl so be careful when going for manicures and other chemical-involving beauty treatments. ItsHot.com has taken the initiative to educate customers about how to handle the precious and delicate pearl. Let’s take a look at how to clean and maintain your beautiful pearls:
Cleaning Your Pearls
- Every time you wear your pearls, be sure to wipe them off with a soft cloth. This will help prevent buildup or accumulation of different substances you may have come in contact with during the day. Buildup include oils, makeup, perfumes or body sprays.
- Clean your pearls with a damp cloth. You do not want to soak your pearls in warm water because this will cause the thread holding your pearls together to weaken. All you need to do is make a mixture of warm water and dish soap, dip a soft cloth in the water mixture, and wipe the pearls clean.
- Be sure you allow proper time for your pearls to dry before putting them back up. This allows the silk thread holding the pearls, to return back to it’s full elasticity.
Maintaining Your Pearls
- Make sure your pearls have a storage area all of their own. Pearls are one of those delicate gems, and are so prone to scratches that you want to make sure they are protected. So if at all possible, store them in a safe place away from other pieces of jewelry.
- While we’re on the topic of storing your pearls, make sure you store them somewhere that they can lay flat. Storing them flat prevents your pearl necklace or bracelet from stretching. Yes there’s the jewelry rack that you can use to hang necklaces and bracelets on, (and there is nothing wrong with those) but using those, with pearls, can eventually stretch your jewelry, so that’s just something for you to think about.
- Try making your pearls the last thing you put on. If you think about it, jewelry typically is the last thing most people put on when getting dressed...it’s what completes your look.
- In that same breathe, let taking off your pearls be the first thing you take off upon coming home and changing clothes. For instance, let’s say you’re wearing pearl earrings, and have on a dress that you have to pull off over your head. You’re less likely to pull or tear a thread in the lining of the dress with the backs of your earrings, if you take your earrings off before taking off your dress.
- Wear your pearls. Yes it’s that simple. Did you know that your pearls can get dry? Well they can. Wearing your pearls allows the oils from your body to keep them moisturized.
- Lastly, take your pearls to a jeweler at least once a year. This allows your jeweler to look at them, clean them if they need to, and make any repairs if needed.
Pearls For Fashion
Now that you know the life story of the pearl and how to clean and maintain them, let’s explore how you can wear these gems in your everyday life.
For pearls in the office, simple is best. A simple one strand of pearls will add class and sophistication to your look. A pearl necklace that sits above the neckline would be ideal. The great thing about pearls is that they go with anything you wear. Whether you’re wearing a suit, dress, or skirt, a pearl necklace or pearl earring will pair nicely with it.
There’s just something about pearls that give you an aura of class, and this aura that it gives off is perfect for special occasions. For this type of event, you can go for a more dramatic look by wearing dramatic pearls.
Every woman knows about the little black dress, and should have at least one in their closet for special occasions. A little black dress paired with dramatic pearls will surely make you stand out from the rest.
Did you know that pearls can make just as big a fashion statement for work and evening wear as it can for casual wear? Well it definitely can!
Pearls can be worn with jeans and blouses as well as cute and simple dresses. Wearing pearls with your casual clothes gives it a fun twist, yet you still have the class and sophistication. These reasons alone are proof as to why pearls are “the prettiest of all gemstones.”