PEARLS are an organic substance classed alongside precious gems.
Pearls are formed when a grain of sand or irritant is present within
When pearls first arrived in Europe from the Middle East, they were more expensive
Colour and lustre are important for assessing the value of a pearl.
In cultured pearls this irritant is introduced manually, it is then surrounded
by layers of nacre until a pearl is formed.
The thicker the nacre, the more lustrous the pearl becomes.
There is a wide colour range including white, black, grey, pink, and yellow.
Natural pearls are relatively rare, for environmental reasons and because cultured
pearls are so common.
Most natural pearls come from the oyster but conch and fresh water mussels also
produce natural pearls. The oriental pearls have a different lustre and sheen
from freshwater pearls, colour and lustre are important qualities in pearls.The
more regular the shape of the pearl the more valuable it is.Blister pearls are
formed on the internal surface of the shell and are semi circular.Pearls are
soft and should be treated with care they are discoloured by perfume and sometimes
by the acidity of the wearers skin.
In the late Georgian period seed pearls were very fashionable.Freshwater pearls
are found in large mussels in many European rivers.
The Romans prized pearls from Scottish rivers. They can still be found
in the Tay, Dee, Tweed etc.
Artificial pearls were first made in the 17th century but you can tell an oriental
or cultured pearl by gripping lightly between the teeth and rubbing the surface
along the edge of a tooth. The artificial pearl feels smooth but the real pearl
Pearl jewellery should be worn with care, particularly antique pearl set rings
which were not intended to endure the rigours of modern living, but were worn
by ladies of leisure who did nothing more exerting than a little tapestry work
The traditional source of pearls is from oysters in the Persian Gulf and The
Gulf of Manaar in Sri Lanka, this is why since Mediaeval times they have been
referred to as Oriental pearls.
In the South Pacific and off the coast of Australia is found a large oyster up
to 12" across. This produces large pearls along with the conch shell which produces
a fine pink pearl and is found off the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr Mikimoto first patented his cultured pearls in 1915, cultured blister pearls
are known as "Mabe" pearls, this means half in Japanese.
Pearls for sale