"Pearls are always appropriate." Jacqueline Kennedy
If you're celebrating your birthday this month enjoy the simple, lustrous beauty of a pearl. Natural cultured pearls come in almost every hue with white and ivory being the most common and black, gray, and silver gaining in popularity.
Natural Cultured Pearls:
Natural cultured pearls come from an irritant inside the mollusk. The mollusk responds to the irritant with many coats of nacre.
Four Major Types of Cultured Pearls:
- Akoya Pearls: Considered to be the finest pearls due to their perfect round shape. They come in muted colors; most common is white. These spectacular Akoya pearls come primarily from Japan and recently from China
- Freshwater Pearls: Like their name; these pearls are cultured in bodies of freshwater, using the same methods as saltwater pearls. They tend to have thicker nacre than Akoyas because an irritant (ie unnatural nucleus) that is use to grow the pearl is mantle tissue from another oyster. The US and China are leading producers of freshwater pearls
- South Seas Pearls: Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines produce these pearls. They come from white-lipped oysters, which are typically larger mollusks and produce larger pearls than Akoya and Freshwater pearls
- Tahitian Pearls: Cultured in the areas around French Polynesia, these saltwater pearls typically come in a color range white to black. These pearls come from the black-lipped oysters. Some of these pearls have a 'peacock sheen' in the lustrous nacre, showing green to purple shimmer.
Pearls come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The most expensive pearls exhibit perfect color with a high degree of luster (you should see yourself in these pearls like a mirror). They also must be blemish-free to elicit high prices.
We at CGJ adore them and have an extensive collection of quality Akoya, Tahitian, and South Seas pearl earrings, rings, pendants, and bracelets.
Pearls go back all the way to 2206 BC. As we've progressed to modern times, pearls are still coveted as they represent wealth and status. Many cultures correlate the round shape of a pearl with the moon. In ancient China, pearls provided protection from fire-breathing dragons. They were thought to epitomize purity and modesty.