About : How To Buy Pearl /Pearl Color and Shape/ Pearl Care/ How To Clean Pearl /
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PEARL, is one of the few organic gems.
Mollusks are the source of all pearls. The term mollusk or mollusca is the phylum name of a major division of the animal kingdom which includes oysters, clams and mussels.
Not all mollusks produce pearls.
Mother of Pearl (MoP) is the common name for iridescent nacre, a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters and other mollusk and deposited inside their shells, coating and protecting their bodies from parasites and foreign objects.
Nacre is the same substance that is deposited around an object that becomes lodged in the mollusk-either naturally or inserted by human – to become pearl.
Jewelry made from mother of pearl is in the group called organic jewelry, which includes all jewelry that originates from living creature, plant, or other living organism.
Pearls have two main categories: Fresh Water cultured pearls and Salt Water cultured pearls. Types of pearls are the result of different oyster use, the environment which they live, the different cultivation techniques used by the pearl farmers.
Salt water pearls tend to be nicer round form compared the Fresh Water Pearls (FW Pearl) have tendency to be oval shape.
Fresh Water cultured pearls are grown in lakes and river, whereas saltwater cultured pearls are grown in bodies of saltwater such as bays. Saltwater cultured pearls most commonly consist of Akoya and South Sea pearls also known as Tahitians.
The east islands in Indonesa is famous with its natural salt water pearl.
Beside the natured, Indonesia also farm its salt water cultured pearls, as well as the cultured Fresh Water pearl. In Lombok, east of Indonesia, hundreds thousand of hectare of water is farming pearl.
Some parts of the world are renowned for their pearl production.
Oriental pearls, natural salt water pearls that originate from West Asian sea such as Persian Gulf. South Sea Pearls, saltwater pearls from East Asia territories such as Indonesia and Oceania. Biwa pearls, are cultivated in Lake Biwa, Japan.
Natural pearls are those which develop as a result of the accidental intrusion of a foreign body, usually grain of sand, into the body of the mollusk.
Natural pearl are extremely hard to come by due to accidental nature of their creation.
Result from the intentional insertion, by man, of an irritant into the body of a pearl-bearing mollusk. The pearl we used in our beaded jewelry are cultured.
*Types of Cultured Pearls
When it comes to their shape, most pearls can be put into one of these three categories : Round (sphere ), symmetrical (slightly oval and egg shaped),and baroque (shape poorly defined, very irregular).
Akoya the most familiar type of cultured pearl sold in necklaces. Akoya from Japan, China and Indonesia grown in pearl oysters and are known for their shimmering beauty and warm colors, which from rose, cream, and gold to silver white and blue/gray.
*South Sea Pearl
Large (10 mm and up) cultured pearls grown in tropical oysters in South Sea like Indonesia. Their color ranges from silver white to gold. They are quite costly due to their size and rarity.
Indonesia has the best Salt Water/Sea Pearl in the world, as well the Fresh Water Pearl. The natural and the farmed as well.
*Tahitian Black Pearl
Large (10 mm and up) cultured pearls grown in black-lipped oysters in Polynesia. Colored range from silvery gray and green to deep purple and black. Their large sizes and unique color command premium prices.
Large, hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shells of oysters rather than in the oysters bodies. Due to their half-round shape they are more popular in earrings, rings and brooches. Mabe cultured pearls are less expensive than round cultured pearls.
*Fresh Water Pearl
Cultivated in mussels, not oysters, in fresh water lakes and rivers primarily in China, Japan and Indonesia. Shapes can be freeform, rice shaped, off-round or spherical and colors from milky white to peach, pink and lavender. Today the ‘any metallic color” can easily found. Fresh waters can be less expensive than other varieties of cultured pearls. In recent years, China is very active to enrich fresh water pearls, innovating in various shapes and colors.
In Lombok, Indonesia, hundreds thousands hectare of water is farming Pearl.
*Keshi / Heishi
Also known as seed pearls. This tiny cultured pearls can be as small as a grain of sand and could accidentally found in many cultured pearls oysters.
Heishi, is a small coin shape pearl/shell/gemstone.
These cultured pearls are irregularly shaped, often lustrous and appealing. Due to their shape baroque cultured pearls are often less costly then round cultured pearls.
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Imitation Pearls are a manufactured product which may be beads of shell, glass, plastic or ceramic that are produced to simulate the appearance of a pearl or cultured pearl.
Imitation plastic pearl and glass pearl will feel smooth when rubbed lightly against front teeth, while cultured and natural pearls feel gritty.
The Pearl’s iridescent color is created by a permanent chemical process that takes 4 to 6 weeks. All colored Pearls are treated this way.
Dark colored Pearls may have excess color residue left over from the process so you may want to wash your Pearls before you use them. There is no such thing as a Titanium-treated, Heat- treated, or Laser-treated Pearl.
(Sources :Jewelers.org ; About .com ; PurePearls.com ; Golden Mine. com; Pizazzworks.com; RossAtelier.com)
Article edited , rewritten and photographed by Ross T Nugroho of RossAtelier.com .
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