Pearl Education: Knowing the Different Types of Pearls
The gift of jewelry is one that is meant to be remembered for a lifetime. Whether it is from a friend, family member, or that special someone, it is to be remembered with significance and beauty. Pearls are often dubbed as a true treasure of the ocean. Of course, it wouldn’t be recognized as such an elegant and exquisite piece if it wasn’t for the intricate process that goes into a pearl’s natural development. The hard, lustrous and spherical mass is formed within the shell of a pearl oyster. The different ways in which the pearl is formed inside is what categorizes the different types of pearls.
Amongst the types of pearls, there is firstly the natural pearl. A natural pearl is formed when a parasite, grain of sand, or any other foreign object enters the body of an oyster, mussel or clam. It is then the job of the oyster to shield itself from potential danger so as a mechanism for defense, it will produce special fluid called nacre. The nacre will cover the tiny foreign body coat after coat to insure safety inside the shell. Once it’s fully done producing, a natural pearl is born. Unlike other gemstones or diamonds, pearls don’t need to be cut or polished as they are already born with luxurious sheen. Another type of pearl is referred to as a cultured pearl. Cultured pearls are made by humans. A tissue graft is inserted into the shell upon which a pearl will form. This is a relatively popular way to make pearls as they typically come from freshwater river mussels ranging from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Alternatively, there are also subset types of pearls that are more so classified by appearance and not by make. The Akoya pearl is grown off the coast of Japan and is known for its polished, delicate look. The Akoya stands as the poster child of a pearl’s appearance seeing that it’s a classic and time-honored piece that truly sets the standard for what a beautiful pearl should appear as. Although the Akoya is usually the most common or frequently noticed, it is definitely not the only of its kind. South Sea Pearls, or “Rolls Royce of Pearls”, take on a gleam of shiny gold tones. As the largest saltwater pearls in the world, they hold a great deal of value and because of their large size, are commonly used at statement pieces of an outfit. Accompanying the South Sea’s signature piece, there is also the Tahitian pearl. As the most different, yet striking looking pearl, it takes on an iridescent rainbow of colors ranging from deep forest green to hues of glossy violet. The Tahitian pearl sets itself apart by virtue of its rarity, naturally dark tones and its exotic origin of French Polynesia.
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