The Lure of Pearls: A classic that never dates!
It is amazing to think that nature can turn an unwanted grain of sand into one of the most beautiful gems in the world. A pearl is organic, like coral, amber and jet, and it is grown inside a mollusc, such as oysters or clams. It is created when a piece of shell or coral or bone becomes lodged and the oyster produces a silky substance, known as nacre, to protect itself. Layers of this nacre are built up over a period of three to five years to form a beautiful pearl.
However, natural pearls are now very rare and most pearls on the market today are cultivated on environment-friendly pearl farms.
Freshwater pearls, for instance, are cultivated in mussels, living in lakes, rivers or breeding pools. They are often not very round, because in this type of mussels the nacre does not grow around the nucleus. A nucleus is a tiny ball of nacre which is used to grow saltwater pearls. This is why fresh water pearls are not big either. Consisting of thick nacre, such pearls produce a deeply intense shine. Freshwater pearls are very delicate and richly coloured.They are usually irregular in shape and the drop pearl is popular. You will often see them made up as drop pearl earrings. Other shapes include oval, round and ‘Baroque’. The latter refers to pearls of irregular shape.
Pearls have been sought-after since Ancient times.The Greeks thought they were the tears of Angels, or of the moon. Famous pearl wearers include Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, Jaqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.Cleopatra is said to have bathed in them. Liz Taylor was once presented with one of the largest pearls in the world and… she lost it. Pearls have a place in Hindu, Islamic and Christian traditions – often to symbolise purity and perfection, which is probably where the tradition of giving pearls to a bride stems from. So a pearl necklace, or pearl drop earrings, for example, makes a wonderful wedding gift!
Colour – pearls are rarely jet black but blue, green, grey, aubergine, peacock and more. Green is the predominant colour. Naturally coloured black pearls come from the pearl farms of French Polynesia (Tahitian pearls) as well as Indonesia and the Philippines. China is one of the largest manufacturers of cultured pearls in the world.
Pearls are quite easy to look after, with care. They need to be worn frequently – not a problem for most wearers! This is because the body’s natural oils help to maintain the gloss of the pearl, however it is advisable to keep them away from hairspray, perfume, makeup, and household chemicals. Do not wear them in the shower or when swimming, and keep them away from other jewellery in a pouch or case.
Pearls can be worn as ropes of necklaces, or combined with silver and gold. Silver necklaces for women can include pearls and other gemstones – check out my website, www.myjewellerystore.co.uk for a lovely selection of jewellery to suit every price range and style, from classic to modern. And Gentlemen- buying pearls for the lady in your life is easy online, ordering is safe and convenient, and she’s bound to appreciate them!