Pearls, pearls, pearls
Pearls are always appropriate
Jewellery with pearls
For many years, there has been a tradition for the classic pearl to be round and white. But thankfully that is no longer the case. Today, pearls are cherished for their organic origins, and more and more colours and shapes have come to adorn pearl jewellery.
Tahitian pearls – South Sea pearls – Akoya pearls
Tahitian pearls – the variegated pearls in black, silver and ‘peacock colours’ come from the black lip oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, which are primarily found in French Polynesia. The colour is natural, not dyed. A Tahitian pearl is typically 8-15 mm in size.
Akoya pearls – saltwater pearls from the Akoya oyster, which are primarily found in Japan. These are typically round and light pink, white or yellowish. The pearls are smaller and have an average size of 6-10 mm. They are often called Japanese pearls.
South Sea Pearls – a term for all saltwater pearls from Indonesia and the Philippines to Australia and French Polynesia. The pearls are usually white or yellow and are cultivated from Pinctada Maxima oysters. The pearls are large and average 9-19 mm in size.
The finest South Sea pearls come from Australia and are found in a variety of colours and sizes. The most prized of these is the white pearl, as they are least likely to be found in a uniform shape.
Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls are evaluated on the basis of the Five S system.
Like diamonds, pearls are also divided into categories. This determines the quality and thus the price of the pearl.
Shine (lustre) – the more lustre, the higher the value. Shine is defined by the quality of the reflection on the surface of the pearl.
Surface – is the surface smooth or uneven? The more even the surface, the higher the value.
Shade (colour) – the colour depends on where in the world the pearl comes from. The white and golden South Sea pearls come from Australia, while the ‘peacock-coloured' and silver-grey Tahitian pearls come from French Polynesia.
Shape – the rounder and more uniform the pearl, the higher the value. If a South Sea pearl or Tahitian pearl are not perfectly round, they are called ‘Baroque’.
Size – the size of a pearl depends on what kind of oyster it comes from.
Pearls – a living organism
A pearl is a gem created over years by a living creature, plant or organism. It is the mother of pearl’s colour that determines the colour of the pearl, and this in turn is determined by water temperatures and nutrients in the water.
A pearl is born
A pearl begins its life when a parasite or piece of sand lodges itself in the oyster’s soft inner body, and the oyster begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystalline substance around the irritant in order to protect itself.
Each pearl is therefore a unique specimen. The lustre, size, colour and shape are never identical. The pearl is made of organic material, which means it must be cared for and nurtured – and you will receive its lustrous love in return.
Oyster farm where cultured pearls are cultivated
Historically, the pearl has been adored and envied because it was rare and beautiful. Few people were fortunate enough to own pearl jewellery until one day in 1904, when Japanese entrepreneur Kokichi Mikimoto discovered the secret of the oyster and succeeded in cultivating the world’s first cultured pearl. From this arose the pearl culture as we know it today. A cultured pearl.Oyster farm where cultured pearls are cultivated
It is important to emphasise that to this day, all-natural pearl cultivation still occurs, with the mollusc itself forming the secretion of nacre (mother of pearl) around a foreign object. The human role in the process consists only of helping the mollusc along by introducing a foreign object inside its shell. Natural pearls occur in only one out of every ten thousand molluscs.