Pearls can generally be subdivided into two groups: natural pearls and cultivated pearls.
A common misunderstanding ensues, where people assume cultivated pearls are somehow unnatural or fake.
The difference between natural and cultivated pearls, however, lies merely in the specific way in which each category of pearls is obtained. While cultivated pearls are cultivated, like crops on a farm, natural pearls are found in nature. Both types of pearls then are real pearls, the difference being that cultivated pearls originate in oyster farms worked by humans.
Unlike natural pearls, cultivated pearls come from a controlled environment. Not only does this allow for more beautiful and higher quality pearls to be produced in large quantities, it also helps sustain a healthy environment. It is harder to find quality pearls in nature, so when they are found in nature they are considered extremely valuable, especially when made into a pearl necklace of seemingly equal size and shape pearls.
Another reason cultivated pearls are sold more than natural ones is the harmful impact that harvesting natural pearls has on the environment. For the same reason DiamondsByMe only offers cultivated pearls.
These are smaller white pearls, often cultivated in Japan.
South Sea pearls:
These are larger pearls. Generally they are white, but differently coloured South Sea pearls do occur. These pearls are found and cultivated in Australia, Indonesia, China and in the island nations of the Pacific. They are found and cultivated in particular locations, the chances of finding pearls at these locations yourself are slim.
Tahiti pearls are recognizable by their gray or black colour. Like oil, the pearl may have varying sheens and shades. For example, the pearl may have a black base covered in a purple oily sheen. The pearls are produced by black lip oysters which originate in the Tahiti and Cook Island regions.
Fresh water pearls were originally found mostly in European countries. Nowadays fresh water pearls are only found in Scotland, Latvia, and North America.
China is currently the largest producer of (cultivated) fresh water pearls.
Apart from China, Japan is also one of the greater producers of fresh water pearls. Cultivated fresh water pearls are recognizable by their shape, often described as potato-shaped or oval. The beautiful sheen is characteristic of cultivated fresh water pearls.
Appraisal of pearls
In the appraisal of pearls the following categories are of the utmost importance: colour, lustre (sheen), shape, and surface smoothness.
The influence of colour on the appraisal of pearls, like in the appraisal of gems, is mainly decided by the market trend, whatever colour is in fashion will fetch a higher price.
A pearl’s lustre, or how shiny the surface of the pearl is, is the major deciding factor in appraisal. The sheen greatly influences the colour of the pearl as well. When a pearl’s lustre is perfect this will be clear right away. The pearl’s lustre is an effect that cannot be compared to the glitter of a gemstone.
For a while now, people tried hard to cultivate perfectly round pearls. Nowadays baroque pearls are also very popular however. These baroque pearls occur in wondrous shapes. Often, they display more impurities, or less sheen and small dents on their surface. The fact that not two baroque pearls are identical is also a selling point though and ensures exclusivity.
For the best effect a pearl’s surface needs to be as smooth as possible. Of course small dents or stripes on the surface occur on pearls naturally. At DiamondsByMe we try to make sure the pearls we use are of the best possible quality.
Formula : Calcium carbonate, Conchiolin and water
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Mineral hardness (Mohs)
Particular hardness: 3,5 to 4
Pearl is a very soft material and easily damaged. Be careful not to dent or break a pearl.
We offer the following colours of fresh water pearls:
Most cultivated pearls originate in Asia, and within Asia they mostly come from China and Japan. These countries are home to so-called pearl farms. These are water reservoirs the size of multiple soccer fields used to cultivate pearls. While many people quickly assume this must be a practice that is harmful to the environment, they could not be more wrong. Shells are maintained and cleaned to ensure quality pearls, and are even ‘recycled’. Furthermore, these farms prevent harmful interference by humans in the ecosystems where these pearls might be found naturally.
In the past many pearls were found in Europe as well. Right now fresh water pearls are only still found in Scotland, Latvia and North America though.
Of course, along the coasts of Australia, Indonesia and pacific islands like Tahiti natural salt water pearls may still be found.
The ancient Greeks thought pearls were in fact the tears of the goddess of love, Aphrodite (Venus).
Taking proper care of pearls is important. Pearl is a soft material and very sensitive to the effects of even mild acids. We strongly advice keeping pearl away from soap, perfumes, and other cosmetics. These can eventually destroy a pearl completely. Heat exposure is another important factor to consider, for example, bringing a pearl necklace with you on a trip to the sauna could ruin your exclusive piece of jewellery.
Before cleaning, make sure you use a soft fabric and clean lukewarm water. Afterwards, dry the pearl with soft fabric (preferably cotton).
If you have a tied pearl necklace, make sure you put the necklace down on a piece of fabric after cleaning it to prevent stretching of the necklace.
In many stores were imitation pearl is sold they are generally made from glass or plastic. Additionally these shops may sell shells with a layer of imitation mother-of-pearl.
Imitation pearls with a real mother-of-pearl coating are also called essence d’orient.
Jewellery with pearls can be found here: