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The Luster of Pearls

SheSpeaksTeam By SheSpeaksTeam 06.13.13
The Luster of Pearls
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From Kate Middleton to Catwoman.. from Jackie O to Angelina Jolie.. from Coco to Oprah and Carrie to Rihanna.. women of allure wear pearls. To June brides they symbolize a new life, to June grads they symbolize wisdom. They are the queen of gems, and the gem of Queens, and now you can win them by commenting below!

"Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one thou must dive deep for it. - old Chinese Proverb"

Pearls are considered the most magical and feminine of all gems, prized for their beauty and rarity. They are the only organic gemstone. When a foreign substance enters the soft tissue of certain mollusks, they coat it with layers and layers of iridescent crystalline nacre, forming a pearl.

Natural pearls are extremely rare and valuable (only one in 10,000 oysters will naturally produce a pearl) and if Mikimoto hadn’t come along, only the very wealthy would ever be able to afford a pearl. In the late 19th century he developed a technique for artificially stimulating (culturing) round pearls in Akoya saltwater oysters. He then revolutionized the industry so that these saltwater pearls could be farmed and harvested like a crop! It took approximately one year for each millimeter of nacre to be formed around his newly-cultured pearl.

Today, those techniques have expanded to freshwater pearls, making genuine pearl jewelry widely available. But Akoya saltwater pearls are still considered to be the gold-standard of cultured pearls because of their luster. The finest ones almost look electric, or 'plugged-in' and are classified as "mirror bright."

The most luxurious pearls in the world are South Sea, which come in white, silver, pink, gold, cream - followed by Tahitian pearls which are a dark mix of silver, green, blue, purple, red and sometimes look like 'peacock.' On the opposite end of the price scale are Keshi pearls (means 'accident' because they are the result of a mistake in the implantation process) which are almost all nacre and have extraordinary luster (which jewelers say is the most important attribute of a pearl) and can be found in beautiful, fanciful designs. 

Spherical pearls (should roll in a straight line) are the most difficult to achieve and are much more expensive than semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, circle or baroque shapes. 7.5mm was once the standard size, but as the industry changes we see pearls of all types and colors becoming the treasured heirlooms that are passed from mothers to daughters. 

 Pearl Necklace Lengths

 Collar   10-13"    At throat with no drape
 Choker   14-16"    At base of neck 
 Princess   17-19"    Just below collarbone; classic length 
 Matinee   20-24"    At cleavage 
 Opera   28-35"    At sternum 
 Rope   45"+    For layering and lariats


Sometimes the value of pearls comes from more than just size and luster. According to lore, Marc Antony searched long and hard for the one he gave Cleopatra, and Krishna gave them to his beloved daughter on her wedding day. Even though no less than the Cartier Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City was purchased in full for just a double strand of pearls - we also value pearls because of a personal connection to someone precious or the remembrance of a special event in our lives. For many, they are the ultimate jewelry statement in grace and beauty hence the saying "All Girls Love Pearls."    

Do you like pearls? If so, comment below by June 30th for a chance to win a strand of cultured pearls (necklace) or a pearl bracelet or pearl earrings - just tell us your favorite thing about pearls! The three winners will be randomly selected and notified via email by July 2nd.


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  • dacevedo2 By dacevedo2

    I love pearls. The are so classy.

  • Ways2BWicked By Ways2BWicked

    Pearls are timeless and elegant.

  • mabeca By mabeca

    Pearls are classic and timeless !

  • rlgrady By rlgrady

    I have always loved pearls. When I got my first job, I saved up to buy a pearl ring. To me, pearls are classy. :)

  • psychscorp By psychscorp

    My favorite thing is that my husband gave me a pair of pearl earrings for our wedding. I cherish them.

  • abartz By abartz

    I love that pearls can go with anything. They are gorgeous and make anyone look classy. I also love that they are classic and never go out of style!

  • mrsdeniseb By mrsdeniseb

    I love wearing pearls. The right pearl necklace can turn any clothing into a sophisticated outfit. I feel that I can't go wrong wearing pearls.

  • musicalsguru By musicalsguru

    I love how each one is completely different, and how there are so many color options! They even feel slightly warm.

  • lorialcorn2006 By lorialcorn2006

    I love pearls I had a nice set of them once but lots them in the divorce

  • Lottie729 By Lottie729

    Baroque and of course the classic round are two of my favorite styles. Go to addition to any ensemble for that extra flair of class and sophistication!

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