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A Beginner's Guide to Pearls

By Edited Apr 30, 2016 0 1

Everything You Wanted to Know About Pearls

And More

The classic beauty of pearls has been used to create jewelry items for centuries.  If you want to know more about this exquisite jewel of the sea, the following article offers some great information.

Pearls are Made Up of Calcium Carbonate

A pearl is the result of irritation caused by a grain of sand inside an oyster shell.  The oyster exudes a substance which coats the foreign object to make it smoother and less of a problem.  Over a period of time, the grain grows in size and develops into a lovely pearl.  The discovery of the first pearl was surely made by someone intending to use the oyster as a meal.

Tahitian and South Seas pearls are created naturally and found in the island seas, as indicated by their

Tahitian and South Seas Pearls
 name. Akoya pearls originate in Japan and are artificially produced from a small oyster, therefore the resulting pearl is also quite small. Freshwater pearls are found in freshwater mussels rather than saltwater oysters.

Perfectly spherical natural pearls are the most sought after in the pearl industry as they are extremely rare.  Most pearls are cultured, or created artificially, and are of less value, even though they are a true pearl.
The most common shape of a pearl is round, but there are several other types available.  These include the half-round, teardrop, button and blister pearls.  These pearls also have a high value if they are "wild" pearls; those created naturally.

Pearls as typically white but they also appear in an array of colors, including pink, blue, green and black.  The colored pearls may range in color intensity from barely detectable to distinct.

Pearls have a nearly iridescent luster which is mirrored on the inner surface of the oyster shell.  This coating is created from a substance called nacre, a layer made up of calcium carbonate and calcite.   

If you are looking for a way to recognize highly valuable natural pearls, try rubbing two of them together.  The natural pearls are perfectly smooth and will rub without friction, but cultured pearls are created from nacre platelets and will feel a little gritty.  An X-ray can also detect the concentric rings of the natural pearl.

Jewelry settings for pearls are as varied as the shape, color and size of the pearl.  Precious metals would be the best option for natural pearls considering the value of the pearl itself.  Settings will often include diamonds and other precious gems in addition to the pearl so as o set off the pearl's beauty.

Any fine jewelry store will have natural pearls for sale.  A vacation to the Polynesian Islands or Hawaii is a great time to purchase a souvenir piece to take home with you.

As a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate, it can be dissolved by acidic substances such as vinegar.  The

The Classic Beauty of Pearls
 best cleaning care for your pearls is to was them in warm water, and you can use a soft brush to clean dirt off if necessary.  However, preventative care for these pieces ensures that no cleaning is necessary and they remain beautiful.

Most people want to know where their pearl originated and the value before they purchase it.  These questions can be answered by a knowledgeable sales person, or you can research the pearl industry online to uncover the answer for yourself.

Pearls have a timeless beauty and can be handed down as a valuable inheritance.  The information given in this article can help you understand their popularity and value.



Feb 16, 2012 4:09am
Thanks for this information. I think pearls are really lovely so it's good to know a bit more about them.
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