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The Luster of Pearls

The Luster of Pearls
 

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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  • budgetbee By budgetbee
    06.13.13  

    I love the simplicity of a strand of pearls. They can make any outfit complete.

  • lolamac By lolamac
    06.13.13  

    Pearls go with anything from jeans to your little black dress and the instant you put them on you add class and style to whatever you are wearing.

  • arianna77 By arianna77
    06.13.13  

    I love pearls because they're gorgeous, and they're my birthstone!

  • luv2garden By luv2garden
    06.13.13  

    Pearls are so special! Very romantic! Love the button!

  • purpleone By purpleone
    06.13.13  

    Pearls go with anything. Dress casual or formal. Not overbearing.

  • katieruns By katieruns
    06.13.13  

    Pearls are not only classic, but they look great on everyone, which is clear from the photos above. I love everything about them.

  • rge-rge By rge-rge
    06.13.13  

    they are just elegant and look good on everyone...

  • Freesocial2011 By Freesocial2011
    06.13.13  

    I just love the look of them.

  • elenavo By elenavo
    06.13.13  

    My favorite thing about pearls is the way they brighten up my entire face and make me look younger!

  • Blondtxen By Blondtxen
    06.13.13  

    I love that whenI put them on I feel like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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