LEARN FROM KN HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT PEARLS FOR YOUIS THIS YOU?Thinking of investing in a good pearl jewellery but no clue where to start?Wondering how in the world to choose what pearl type to buy?In the dark about how to tell the real thing from the imitations?Spending a lot of time fishing the internet for information on pearls but that’s only making you more confused?Holding back the desire to buy because of the fear of getting cheated.Wishing you knew something about pearls so you feel confident about making an informed decision.If the answer is ‘Yes’, then you, my friend, have landed in the right page. I’m here to help you throw away your uncertainties. In my opinion a good piece of pearl jewellery is something worth investing in that should be in every jewellery lovers stash!!And the fact that you’re here shows that you believe it too. Or at least it’s been in your mind for a while. You know that wearing the right one can make you feel good. Well you can almost feel the special touch… well almost…You had almost bought one but in the end maybe you made do with a cheaper replica.. because there’s this confusion that stops you from buying.Or maybe you’re someone who just recently started getting into fine jewellery and thinking of getting some pearls. After eyeing it on that fashionista friend of yours who always manages to look like a million $$$ of course you want one too! We’re not passing any judgements here. Either ways, knowing something about the jewel certainly will be to your benefit. By the time you’re done reading what I have to say, you’ll have enough understanding of pearls to go get them!*SIGN UP AND GET THE ULTIMATE PEARL SHOPPING CHECKLIST -> SIGN UPNO UNDERSTANDING IS COMPLETE WITHOUT SOME HISTORY All over the world, from European Royalty to Hollywood actresses, refined women of taste have been captivated by the beauty of pearls. But it’s amazing how little we know about these jewels even though pearls are among the oldest and most treasured of gems. Anyway, human fascination with pearls began a thousands of years ago. Men probably stumbled upon it while looking for food. Once discovered, men wanted more and started extracting the pearls from the ocean as much they could. At the beginning of recorded history Pearls were already established as symbols of beauty, wealth and power. In fact, it was so precious and rare that in the 16-17th century Europe there was a law forbidding a common man to possess any pearls. Desire for pearls increased even as resources declined. This led some to consider ways to help the oyster to produce pearls to make it accessible to all and sell pearl for profit. Experiment after experiment, eventually men became successful in culturing pearls.Ok now from here onwards it starts getting a bit more technical and information based. But if you stay here with me till the last page you will know more about pearls in an the next 30 minutes than you’ve ever known before till now. So let’s get started….BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS A PEARLPearls are the result of defensive mechanism of an oyster when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, becomes lodged in the shell of an oyster. Sensing the object, the oyster starts a protective response and deposits layers of a semi?translucent substance called “nacre” around the intruder, where it builds up over time. It takes years to create a pearl of decent size and perfectly round shapes are rare.HOW IS A PEARL FORMED (I want to put some photos with some simple explanation but I dont have the photos yet)So that’s how it’s done.WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEARLS Natural pearlsCultured pearls – Salt water pearls and Freshwater pearls.Imitation pearlsWHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NATURAL PEARL AND A CULTURED PEARLNatural pearlsThese are pearls that have been produced by a mollusc with no human interference. Due to over-harvesting of oysters and ocean pollution, natural pearls have largely disappeared from the world market, and haven’t been seen in any volume since the 1800’s. They are so rare to find in nature that most pearls sold today are cultured. The extremely rare ones which do exist today tend to be small, or family heirlooms. Fine quality natural pearls can command extraordinarily high prices. Cultured pearlsCultured pearls are produced with some assistance from man but the molluscs/ oysters still work to make the pearl. An irritant is intentionally inserted by highly skilled technicians inside the oyster to stimulate it to form the pearl. The oyster is then returned to its habitat and nurtured. Gradually over time the oyster coats the bead in many layers of natural minerals and proteins. These layers are referred to as nacre.It is the nacre that gives pearls their beautiful lustre and colour. The process to create a pearl takes from one to three years, depending on the variety.The cultivation of pearls has led to a greater abundance of these stunning and lustrous beauties. Large pearl farms ensure that pearls are an affordable luxury for everyone.Imitation pearls/ Fake pearlsThese are man made product that are designed to resemble real pearls.A variety of methods are used to create imitation pearls like glass, plastic, beads of mollusc shell, ceramic etc. Imitation pearls date back to antiquity but were only mass produced from the 16th and 17th centuries in Italy and France. Today with more modern techniques, new synthetic materials and sophisticated coating techniques are able to produce an imitation pearl that might be mistaken at first glance for a natural or cultured pearl.WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CULTURED PEARLS? There are four major kinds of cultured pearls. Freshwater pearlsAkoya pearlsTahitian pearlsSouth Sea pearls- White and golden variety.Next up, we have the Freshwater pearls. Though it seems like they have always been around, in reality round cultured freshwater pearls made their entry much later than the Akoyas. While still not so round and good quality in the early years, these days the freshwater pearls are getting better and better and proving to be a strong competition for the Akoyas. The low price point is to their advantage.Then we have the the Tahitian which comes from the French Polynesian islands. This we started culturing around the ….takes us to exotic places. Finally we have the South Sea Pearls which have proved to be the Queen of pearls. Each type comes from a particular species of mollusk (an oyster or mussel), and the value of each varies considerably.Freshwater pearls tending to be the least costly.South Sea pearls tending to be the most expensive. However, this is a *very general rule*. More details below.(Hi Stefano, Please help to make a chart for the following information below which makes it easy to compare and understand. I didn’t know how to make a chart here) Type: 1. Akoya Pearls2. South Sea pearls (White/ Golden)3. Tahitian pearls 4. Freshwater pearlsSize range:2mm- 11mm. Above 10mm is rare. Most common 5-7.5mm. Above 8 is luxury.9mm- 20mm. 2mm- 18mm9mm- 16mmColour:Classic white with pink, silver or cream overtoneSatiny silver/cream to deep golden tones. Dark golden considered most rare and valuable.Wide range of natural colors white, peach, lavender and many dyed options.Only pearl which naturally has dark colors. However it is not black.Shape:Round, Near round, Baroque, Semi baroque.SameSameSamePrice Range:100-5000 USD400-30,000 USD50-1500 USD120-10,000 USD1) Freshwater Pearls generally the least expensive and the most common variety of pearl. cultivated in vast quantities in freshwater lakes, mostly in China and the United States. A given mussel will often produce many pearls at one time – sometimes as many as 50 pearls at once! This, coupled with the faster production time of the Chinese market has led to lower prices and, with passing time pearls of better and better pearl quality are being produced.often appear in pink or pastel colors, but are very commonly dyed to any color.Freshwater pearl sizes are usually in the range from 4mm-12mm. Larger sizes are possible.Natural colors are whites, pinks, pastels, lavenders, but color treatment is also common. If in doubt, ask… it effects the price you should pay.Most affordable pearls as prices tend to be lower than other types. Shop Freshwater pearl collections.2) Akoya Cultured Pearls Akoya pearls are the “original” cultured pearl and the first to be cultivated commercially at the beginning of the 1900’s in Japan by Mikimoto and others. This is the pearl type that often what comes to mind when someone mentions the word “pearl”. If you are looking for the classic set of pearls, look to Akoya pearls: round, white, lustrous with a rose glow, ladylike and demure. .. Natural body colors are neutral whites and creams. Dark colors like blue or black are not natural colors, but can still be desirable.Overtone colors are often highly desirable, including pink/”rose”.As with all pearls, look for as high luster and as few surface characteristics as possible within your budget. Akoya Pearl sizes are usually from 6mm-9mm.Shop Akoya pearl collections.3) Tahitian Black PearlsMight be called the “rock stars” of the pearl world, at least in terms of their popularity! Black is a misnomer since Tahitian pearls come in many hues of greens,blues, browns, and grays. While no one color is really”best” or most valuable, except in terms of personal preferences, green”peacock” shades are quite popular. Grown in Tahiti (French Polynesia) these pearls come much bigger than Akoyas and Freshwater pearls, and tend to cost more. Tahitian pearl sizes usually range from 9mm-17+mm, or even bigger in rare cases.Common color terms: the term “peacock” describes a black pearl with green (and possibly pink) overtones. “Aubergine” or “Eggplant” describes a pearl with purplish cast.Orient is very attractive in Tahitian pearls, as is an overtone color in green, blue, or pink. In addition to round, baroque (“free-form”) shapes are very popular, as are nice drop- shapes. 4) South Sea Pearls The biggest and most valuable of all pearls.Sizes usually from 10mm to 18+mm, and occasionally even bigger!They come in two varieties: White and Golden. White South Sea Pearls are mostly grown in the waters off Australia and are the largest pearls on record.Golden South Sea Pearls, come from the waters off Indonesia and the Philippines; most people have never even heard of Golden pearls, let alone held one up close. They are the most valuable in pearls. For golden pearls, it’s extremely important to ask whether the color is natural. Color treated pearls abound, and are worth much less than natural goldens, since the color may fade over time!Because of their size and distinctive look, it’s hard to confuse South sea pearls with anything else. However, Freshwater pearls in the same size range are becoming more common in baroque shapes and these days round also, so be sure to confirm with the vendor.Baroque shapes in White South Sea pearls are very popular, in addition to the classic round.SHOP SOUTH SEA PEARL JEWELRY IS CULTURED PEARL A REAL PEARL?’Yes’ – a cultured pearl is a real pearl. Over 99% of all pearls you’re likely to see in your lifetime are cultured pearls. There are many varieties of cultured pearls, including freshwater, saltwater, Tahitian and South Sea pearls.HOW DO I CHOOSE WHICH KIND OF PEARL TO BUY? Decide what type of pearl suits your style and budget. A strand of pearls can range from $35 – $35,000+, so understanding the different TYPES OF PEARLS will help you narrow down your choice.HOW TO TELL A CULTURED PEARL FROM IMITATION PEARLSRubbing/ Tooth test: An easy method which anyone can do is to take two pearls, rub one against the other very lightly, without damaging the pearls.If you have only a single pearl, the pearls can be rubbed lightly against the front of your tooth. Result: If the pearls are real, you should feel a slight gritty or sandy sensation. Imitations made of glass, plastic, etc. will feel smooth and glassy when rubbed together – humans have still not figured out how to reproduce the oyster’s expertise! 2. Feeling:Real pearls will also be cool to the touch. At room temperature, the surface of a pearl will be cool against the back of your hand or your face. Plastic will feel warm to the touch at room temperature. 3. Looking:True pearls nearly always show natural characteristics: a small dimple, a slight variation in color or luster, minor blemishes; in many cases they add unique character. This is a big part of the appeal of pearls – they are a product of nature! Imitations usually appear “perfect” in every way: bright reflections, spotless surface, identical color match. When pearls in a strand look precisely the same when closely observed with unaided eye, they are probably imitations. 4. Weighing:True pearls also have a distinctive weigh to them. Solid glass beads are heavier and plastic beads will be lighter. Most pearl dealers will be able to feel the weight difference. 5. Disclosure at the time of saleGenuine pearls must, by law, be described as “natural” or “cultured” pearls. If a pearl is a fake, it must be described as “imitation” or “simulated.” Look at the small print on the advertisement or on the counter card for this information. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SALTWATER AND FRESHWATER PEARL?WHY IS THE PRICE DIFFERENCE SO GREAT FOR A FRESHWATER VS SALTWATER PEARLS?Freshwater pearls are produced by Mussels cultivated in natural lakes, artificial reservoirs, rivers and man made ponds. They are more abundant because the mollusks used are able to create 25-50 pearls at once inside the mother shell, and can be used over and over again. Saltwater pearls are produced by oysters in oceans and seas. They are rarer, as the oysters can only create a single pearl at a time. WHY ARE SALTWATER PEARLS SO EXPENSIVE?Because natural pearls are very rare and although man has been able to cultivate saltwater pearls, these are also still not easy to create and many factors go into determining the pricing of pearls which include:The cost of setting up and running pearl farms. These are usually in remote locations.Quotas set by the Federal Trade CommisionsSkilled and unskilled manpowerUpkeep of farms and equipmentThe cultivation period of saltwater pearls can be upto 3 years. So in total it takes about 6-7 years of looking after an oyster to produce 1 pearl. And that too is not guaranteed!During this time there are natural risks which are not in mans hand like fluctuations in Water temperature, Typhoons, Tidal waves, Red Tides etc. and also risks from man made pollution and thieves.However, there is no guarantee that an oyster will ever produce a pearl! Oysters are particularly sensitive creatures; even slight changes in water temperature or nutrition can kill off entire crops. The skill of the pearl technician is reflected in the quality and quantity of pearls produced – the painstaking procedure of implanting the nucleus requires talent and precision. Only about 20% of pearl cultivation results in marketable pearls. Of these, perhaps only 1-2% are of top quality. These rarities are always in high demand. HOW IS THE VALUE OF PEARL DETERMINED?Just as diamond shoppers use the “Four C’s” to evaluate diamonds, pearl shoppers should keep in mind these seven factors:SizeShapeColourLustreSurfaceNacre thicknessMatching.HOW DOES SIZE AFFECT THE COST OF A PEARL?Pearl measurements are stated in millimeters rounded off to the nearest 0.5 mm. Size does matter. Generally when other value factors are equal, the larger the pearl the more the value. It takes a long time for an oyster to produce larger pearls, and there are fewer of them. Big pearls with high luster are rarer still and command higher prices. Traditionally, Akoya (2.0mm – 11.0mm) and Freshwater pearls(2.0mm – 15.0mm) are smaller pearls Tahitian or South Sea pearls are much larger(9.0mm – 20.0mm). Eg: Large Akoya cultured pearls are not large by Tahitian standards but a large one would be of higher value that a Tahitian pearl of the same size. HOW DOES SHAPE OF A PEARL AFFECT IT’S VALUE?There are several ideal shapes: round, tear-drop, and baroque (free-form). In general, the closer a pearl is to one of these ideal shapes, the better and more valuable it is. A perfectly round pearl is the most sought after and the most rare of cultured pearls. So rare are round pearls that only 5-10% of a pearl farm’s harvest will be even and round. The rest of the harvest will vary from semi-round pearls to asymmetrical baroque pearls.But these days a nice drop- shape or baroque-shape can cost as much or more as a round, depending on how it will be used. COLOR The primary color you observe in the pearl is called “body color”. Typical pearl colours are white, cream, yellow, pink, silver, or black. In addition, some pearl species also exhibit additional minor colors as overtones or orient. Overtone is seen when light reflects off the pearl surface. For example, a pearl strand may appear white, but when examined more closely, a pink overtone may become apparent.While there is no wrong color, some colors are considered more desirable than others, depending on the species of pearl. HOW TO CHOOSE A PEARL COLOR?Never before has such a wide range of pearl colors been available. White is the classic, versatile color choice and many believe that a woman’s first pearl necklace should always be a white strand. “Black” pearls are not actually black but dark shades of gray, greens and blues and give an exotic look that works especially well with darker skin tones. Pink, peach and lavender shades are fun and flirty, perfect for spring and summer wear but when color matched correctly – an outfit can look incredibly sophisticated as well.It really comes down to an individuals personal taste. HOW TO SPOT FAKE COLORS?Color treatments for pearls are fairly common. However, pearls which are natural in color are almost always more valuable than treated ones. One reason is that some treatments may actually fade or make the pearl less durable. Each pearl species has a specific color range. Some colors not natural for particular species. For example, Akoya pearls come naturally in white, but not black. Black pearls smaller than 8mm are probably either color-treated Akoya or Freshwater pearls, since Tahitian pearls don’t usually come much smaller than 8mm. Also, if the colors appear to look “metallic” or otherwise seem “unnatural”, suspect color treatment. In drilled pearls the drill holes can be examined under magnification. Obvious color treatments may show ink residue or other differences in color. The only way to know more is to send the pearls to a testing laboratory to confirm the color. Sometimes, even labs cannot know for certain. The thing to keep in mind is that a reputable pearl dealer should always stand behind their product and disclose any color treatments up-front. If in doubt, just ask. DO I NEED TO MATCH MY SKIN TONE AND COLOR OF PEARL JEWELLERY? Pick the color that you are most drawn to as you are the one who will be wearing the piece.White pearls with silver overtones, similar to the Mikimoto pearls are often very complimentary to people who have darker or olive colored skin. Pearls with rose overtones, and other colored pearls such as pink and peach are quite nice and very flattering with people who have fair skin. Of course the color of the pearls that are best suited to you is all a matter of personal preference. If you have olive or darker skin, a white necklace would be very flattering as well as anything with any color, your options are wide open.What matters most is how you feel in your pearls as very few people will notice the overtone on your pearls other than you. What you are initially drawn to is probably something that you would get a lot of wear out of. WHAT IS MEANT BY ‘LUSTRE’ OF A PEARL?This is the shine or the reflection that your eye observes when light hits the surface of the pearl. It is the pearl’s inner glow.Look for sharpness of reflections; the light source should appear as tight and clear as possible. The importance of good luster in a pearl cannot be underestimated! In a pearl with better luster, you should be able to see the reflection of your finger clearly as you move it closer to the pearl. Those who know pearls will notice (and you did intend to show your pearls off, right?) WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN SURFACE QUALITY?No two pearls are alike, and one of the factors that makes each different is its surface quality. Virtually no pearl is perfect, and any flawless specimens are treasures. The majority of pearl buyers will have a degree of surface imperfections on their gemstones. Pearl aficionados know that even the finest pearls will have irregularities on the surface. The key factors to surface quality irregularities are how noticeable they are and if they seriously affect the durability of the pearl.Serious surface quality issues are usually chips and gaps, which will lower the value of even the most lustrous pearls. Why? These particular imperfections can cause the pearl to crack or peel. Other characteristics include:Abrasions – scratches or scuffs that affect the luster or color of the pearl.Spots – minor color variations.Bumps – tiny bubbles on the surface of the pearlWrinkles – where the nacre isn’t smooth. WHAT IS NACRE THICKNESS?When the nucleus is inserted into an oyster to create a pearl, the oyster responds by coating the nucleus with layer upon layer of a substance called conchiolin, or nacre. The thicker the nacre, the bigger and more durable the pearl will be. Pearls with thin nacre may show cracks or chipping around the drill holes, and should always be avoided.