Unless you are an avid jewelry collector most people don't know that much about pearls. This is not good because you can pay a lot of money for something that is not worth that much. Pearls are the only gem that is formed from a living thing, This gems are formed after a parasite enters an oyster or mollusk. In order to protect itself the mollusk releases a nacre substance around the foreign substance in the form of a pearl sac. This entraps the parasite. This secreted substance builds up over time forming real pearls. Only one in ten thousand of these are of gem quality making the need to produce these some other viable way a necessity. Basically, there are three different types of pearls. Faux, cultured, and natural with faux pearls being exactly what it implies, fake pearls.
Faux pearl originated in the first century with the Chinese. They created these fakes through chemical engineering, however, there is no created documents as to the process they used. By the 16th century, the Venetians picked up the art by creating iridescent glass. These faux pearls are filled with wax. Later a French Parisian named Jacquin developed a pearlessence substances from the iridescent film in water left from fish scales. This lead to the creation of simulated pearls. One of the best representation for imitation pearls are known as the Majorica Pearls from Spain. This is the process where a nuclei is created and dipped the pearlessence, then polished. They are known to be very beautiful. These are examples of faux pearls, so make sure that you don't end up purchasing these kinds of pearls for your baby.
Instead, this Christmas buy pearls that are cultured or natural. In the early 20th century, the Japanese were created with the discover on how to produce cultured pearls by inserting a foreign body into the tissue of an akoya mollusk, and then they would put it back into the sea. So for the most part, cultured pearls are pearls that are farmed. There are basically two types of cultured pearls. Freshwater pearls are grown in man-made lakes in China. They are more durable and less expensive than saltwater pearls. Saltwater pearls, also known as marine pearls, are looked upon as more valuable and have more luster than the freshwater version. These pearls are more round than freshwater and usually have a bead core. They are grown in bays, inlets, and atolls around the world. Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea pearls are examples of cultured saltwater pearls and are considered some of the most valuable pearls in the world.
The last type is the most exotic, rarest, and most expensive of all the other pearls. These are real pearls or natural pearls. They are found by chance and no two are alike. Making a strand of pearls out of these exotic beauty's cannot be duplicated. Since no two are alike, the piece becomes a one of a kind, and unless you are very rich, it probably isn't feasible to select this kind of pearl. A strand of rare pearls would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars today making them virtually unobtainable for the average consumer.
Now that you understand more about pearls, you have probably decided on cultured pearls. There are still a variety of these to chose from as well. Akoya pearls are harvested from an akoya oyster. They tend to be smaller and are usually white with a rose, silver, or creamy hue. Next are the Tahitian pearls. These form inside of the black-lipped oyster in Tahiti and French Polynesia. These oyster create large, darker pearls that are considered the most beautiful in the world. Finding a truly black pearl is considered very rare. Next, are the South Sea pearls. These pearls form inside of a silver-lipped or a gold-lipped mollusk, and are considered the largest in the world. This is were the name mother of pearl comes from. These pearls have a satiny luster and have subtle overtones of gold, silver, and white. The Cortez pearls are cultured pearl that are grown and farmed off of Mexico's Gulf of California. They emerge from two species of mollusk, the Rainbow-Lipped oyster and the Panama Black-Lipped Oyster. Fishing for these pearls where banned in 1939 to prevent extinction of the oyster population, however, after a university research team began reviving the operation of culturing these pearl in 1993, a commercial production operation began again in 1996. Keshi pearls are small pearls that have been expelled by a mollusk. When the pearl sac ruptures it looses it's nucleus. Due to the use of x-rays, companies can detect this and implant another nuclei before the nacre forms. Because of this, one slipping past this technology is a rarity. Lastly, the Mabe pearls, also known as Blister Pearls, are nuclei that has been implanted against the shell instead of within the tissue. This forms a pearl with a flat back. This kind of pearls are used in rings.
This Christmas buy pearls for your baby girl and start a tradition that she will love. Now that you know the ins and outs on the world of pearls, you will be better equipped at making the most of your choice. Size, shape, and color are now the only obstacles standing in your way.