Pearls-what you need to know..
- October 29, 2020
Cultured pearls, freshwater pearls, natural pearls, Akoya pearls, Majorca pearls. If your confused about pearls, don’t worry, it can be difficult to know what is a good pearl and what’s not. And if you are about to buy some pearls and aren’t really sure what to look for and what you should pay. So let’s start at the beginning. The Pearl is an organic gem, that is, one that comes from a living thing, Coral and Amber are also organic gems. Pearls are produced from molluscs, that’s oysters or mussels. In the case of natural pearls a small grain of sand or irritant finds its way into the mollusc which, then secretes a soothing substance called nacre over the irritant and over time, this forms the Pearl.
Today, most of the wild natural pearl producing molluscs are gone and natural pearls are very rare. Now, all pearls are cultivated pearls. That is, they have been given help to produce a pearl in a pearl farm. Pearls are formed over months and years in molluscs which have had a small piece of mantle shell, or bead inserted into the mollusc and this, takes the place of the grain of sand, and produces the pearl. The molluscs can be grown in saltwater-the sea or freshwater-rivers, ponds and lakes. The Pearls we have on this website are freshwater cultivated or cultured Pearls. There are four major types of cultured pearls which are on the market today:
Akoya—This type is familiar to many jewellery customers. Japan and China both produce saltwater Akoya cultured pearls. Usually about 6-7mm in size with a cream to white body colour. Great quality and lovely deep luster.
South Sea—Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are leading sources of these saltwater cultured pearls. Usually in white, silver or golden and often sized at 8 to 15mm. Dramatic and stunning.
Tahitian—Cultivated primarily around the islands of French Polynesia (the most familiar of these is Tahiti), these saltwater cultured pearls usually range from white to black and green to purple. Again large pearls in around 8 to 14 mm.
Freshwater—These are usually cultured in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds. They’re produced in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours. China and the US are the leading sources. These represent great quality if you find a good supplier who knows the key quality points.
At I love my Pearls we concentrate on one type of pearl and that’s the Freshwater pearl and we look for the quality points originated from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to guide our buying and selection. We buy from pearl farms and import directly, always checking the quality and making sure it’s the best value for freshwater pearls.