All About Pearls
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Are Cultured Pearls Quality Pearls?
Not only are cultured pearls quality pearls, but many of the finest pearls in the world are the result of culturing. Consider South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls and Akoya pearls. These pearls are all cultured pearls. This process helps ensure uniform quality and improve harvests. The past few years, Chinese Freshwater pearls have also entered the market of quality cultured pearls. The quality of these pearls has improved and has the availability of designer sizes, colors and shapes.
Why are pearls given two numbers to describe their size?
There is a industry practice to specify the measure of cultured pearls in a necklace by range. For example. 6 to 6 1/2 millimeters, or 7 to 7 1/2 millimeters and so on, That means that pearls range in the strand falls at or between the two sizes given. This practice usually applies to Freshwater pearl necklaces, which are usually graduated in size.
What about pearl colors? Are they natural?
Some pearl colors are natural and some pearl colors are achieved through artificial means. Each pearl has a body color plus overtones that cannot be achieved artificially though many have tried! The process of altering that body color can be in various forms such as dip dying, injecting a dye during the culturing process and more.
What is the difference between Saltwater (Akoya) and Freshwater pearls?
Pearl-growing oysters live or can be grown in rivers and lakes as well as the sea. Thus, pearls can be freshwater or saltwater. In general, saltwater pearls are much higher in quality than freshwater. The average saltwater pearl is near-round, white or off-light in color, and has a moderate luster and glossy surface. Freshwater pearls are more irregularly shaped-they are usually flat or pear-shaped but can also be round. Freshwaters tend to come in a wider variety of colors, such as pink, purple, and green and more.
How do I distinguish the real pearl from the false one?
When you buy pearls, it's important to know how to tell the real from the false. There are several ways to do this, whether you're at home or at a pearl jewelry store.
First, Luster. Does the pearl seem to emit a soft glow that comes from within? If so, that's a real pearl-that distinctive glow comes from the many layers of nacre built up over the years it spent inside an oyster. False pearls have surface shine, but not that special glow.
Second, Surface. Is the surface of the pearl perfectly smooth and flawless? If so, it's probably false. The closer to perfect a pearl's surface is, the higher its value-but it's practically impossible for a pearl to have no flaws at all.
Sometimes you need a microscope or magnifying glass to detect the flaws on a pearl, but if it's real, they're there.
Third, Feel. Real pearls have a fresh, cool feel. False pearls can sometimes feel greasy, and they don't have that coolness.
Fouth, Rubbing. Rub two pearls against each other. If it feels a little gritty, they're real. If it feels slippery, the pearls are false.
How to classify the pearls?
There are many ways to classify pearls. Here are the most common ways you'll find them classified.
1. By growth method. Whether the pearls are natural or cultured.
2. By water types. Whether the pearls are freshwater or saltwater.
3. By color. Whether they're white, black, green, gold, variegated, etc.
4. By shape. Whether the pearls are round, near-round, drop, Baroque, etc.
5. By size. Whether they're little (2-5 mm); bead pearls (5-5.5 mm); medium (5.5-6.5 mm); large (6.5-7.5 mm); extra large (7.5-8.5 mm) or super large (8.5 mm and up).
6. By region. Whether they are East pearls, West pearls, South pearls, Chinese pearls, Australian pearls, etc.
7. By usage. Whether the pearls will be used for medicinal purposes or for ornamentation.
8. By content. Whether the pearls contain stones, sand grains, or other irritants.
9. By source. Whether the pearls are detached or blister.
10. By nacre thickness. Depending on the type of pearl, different nacre thicknesses will produce.
What is the standardized grading system for cultured pearls?
It is a long history for pearl trading business, However, there still is no widely accepted standardized grading system of pearl, although some specify market use their owned system. but no two pearls are the same, a grading system would need to take hundreds of quality parameters into account. In the same time, the fact remains that some pearls are so distinctive they defy comparison. There is a system for evaluating our pearls, in order from least to best quality: A, AA, AA+, AAA. General descriptive terms for pearl quality are often the same used to describe anything else: "excellent," "very good," "average," etc.
How should I clean pearl jewelry?
Caring for Your Pearls
Even cultured pearls with thicker coatings are more fragile than most other gemstones, so you must handle them carefully to keep them in the best condition.
1. Your pearls will stay cleaner if you put them on after you've applied your makeup and perfume.
2. Be sure to take off your pearl rings before you apply hand and body creams.
3. Wipe your pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off.
4. The cloth can be dampened with water or it can be dry. If damp, allow the pearls to air dry before putting them away.
5. Dirty pearls can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution (try Ivory flakes).
6. Never clean your pearls with solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents.
7. Don't put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner.
8. Don't use abrasive cleaners or rub pearls with abrasive cloth. Both can wear away the nacre coating, leaving you with a plain looking bead.
Don't store your pearls with other jewelry, because they can be scratched easily when metal or gemstones rub against them. Find a special slot in your jewelry box for the pearls, or keep them in a soft bag made from chamois or another non-abrasive material.
Your fine pearl necklaces should be restrung periodically so that you're sure the silk or nylon cord holding them is in good shape when referencing a pearl necklace.