South Sea Pearl Jewelry
The mystery of south sea pearl jewelry has made these luminescent gems favorites among jewelry lovers everywhere. Whether a consumer is in the market for treasures made from the traditional white gems, or perhaps a piece of exotic tahitian black pearl jewelry, these baubles make an alluring statement. Farmers of this valuable plunder plant beads rather than seeds. The oyster mistakes this implanted nucleus bead for a foreign object and begins to resist its presence, slowly coating it with a magnificent luster as the bead causes irritation. From there, the farmer can only hope and let the oyster do its magic. Outside forces such as weather can impact the creation of these pearls. The hope is that, in time, beautiful and perfectly round pearls will form. The value of the gem increases with size and with the absence of flaws. Perfect, round and defect free pearls are very rare and therefore very costly. A full necklace created from such gems is a precious asset indeed.
Pearls are generally thought of as creamy white gems, but in actuality, pearls are available in a wide range of colors. In addition to white, there are pearls in shades of cream, gold, silver, blue, green and even black. Indonesia and the Philippines tend to yield pearls in off white, cream and golden hues. In addition to white and cream, the country of Myanmar offers peals in shades of silver-white, as does Thailand. Japan yields gems in shades of white and golden. The shores of French Polynesia lay claim to the gems used for beautiful tahitian black pearl jewelry. Regardless of the country of origin, lovely south sea pearl jewelry is a feast for the eye and as well as a major investment. These pearls can be worn in pieces that incorporate only one color of bead, or the colors can be combined for striking ornamentation. Prices for this kind of jewelry can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
When purchasing south sea pearl jewelry, the consumer should keep in mind that, while a piece with perfectly round gems is highly desirable, there are a number of shapes that can occur and can be used to create unusual and attractive pieces. Pearls could fall into shape categories such as round, semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, baroque or ringed. The difference between round and semi-round pearls can boil down to as little as a two percent variation in circumference. Button shaped pearls look a little flatter than round ones and are often used for earrings. Necklaces made from button pearls will not demand as high a price as round and semi-round, but can offer the consumer an opportunity to obtain a less expensive piece of pearl jewelry. Non drilled keepsake pearls are also available. One large, perfectly round gem of 12 millimeters in size or greater can cost several thousand dollars. Baroque, ring or nonstandard shapes of freshwater keepsake pearls could sell for just a few hundred dollars.
The qualities by which south sea pearl jewelry are judged pertain mostly to specific criteria used to determine the value of the gems themselves. These criteria are lustre, surface, shape, color, and size. Lustre has to do with the overall brilliance of the pearl and how well it reflects light. Surface has to do any imperfections on the exterior of the gem. Round pearls, as previously discussed, are the most valuable shape. All colors are considered of equal value making this the only criteria that is a matter of personal taste, and does not affect the value. Whether traditional white or tahitian black pearl jewelry, the color of the gem does not determine price. As to size, the larger the gem is, the higher the value. Pearls can range in size from one millimeter to twenty millimeters. The average size of a cultured pearl is around seven millimeters. Whatever the size, these gems have long been considered objects of beauty. The Bible mentions them in a description of the beauty of heaven. "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (Revelation 21:21)
Consumers who purchase quality tahitian black pearl jewelry can know that their investment will most likely increase in value as the years pass. These pearls tend to be larger than other types of pearls, ranging anywhere from eight to eighteen millimeters in size, with the average size being around thirteen millimeters. While these gems are generally called black pearls, their range of colors actually includes peacock, green, black green, dark green, eggplant, blue and grey. When it comes time to harvest these pearls, there are usually far fewer oysters to cultivate; therefore the yields tend to be smaller than at traditional cultured pearl farms. A healthy oyster is afforded no time to rest. Once a pearl is harvested, another nucleus bead is planted in the oyster and the process starts all over again. Since this business presents many unpredictable variables, oyster farming is not an exact science. Conditions such as weather, and the health of and life span of each individual oyster, can greatly impact the eventual harvest. It is largely a game of percentages. Of the millions of oysters that are planted with nucleus beads, only fifty percent will survive and create a pearl. Of that number, most do not create pearls that are of any market value. Only twenty percent of these pearls pass the standards required for use in fine jewelry.
Freshwater Pearl JewelryPearl jewelry sets have been popular for centuries and regarded as some of the most classic jewelry. Pearls have become iconic over the years and looked at as a symbol of beauty and perfection. The spherical jewels from the sea have not only been sought after for perfection but have become forever embellished in myths and literature. A common practice used among people who offer words of advice is to dub them as 'pearls of wisdom'. Pearls are used many times throughout literature being compared to as tears, the treasures of the oceans, and have become almost inseparable with a classic woman's loveliness and adornments. The Bible describes the gates to the heavenly city as follows," and the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl" (Revelation 21:21).
The spherical gems are formed when a foreign particle enters inside an oyster or mussel. The creature acts defensively towards whatever particle or irritant that has entered inside and as a defensive mechanism, begins to secrete a pearlescent substance known as nacre around the irritant, in an effort to protect itself from the foreign invader. This forms what is known as the pearl. The size of the pearl is determined by how much nacre is used in the formation. Pearls formed completely naturally are the most rare and in fact, have proven to be so scarce that most of the spherical gems are cultivated by human intervention especially for those which make up pearl jewelry sets.
Freshwater pearl jewelry is unique in the fact that in general, they cost significantly less than other varieties of pearls. This allows people who might not otherwise be able to afford the jewels, to purchase and enjoy them for themselves or as gifts to others without having to break the bank. Freshwater pearls come in a wide variety of naturally occurring colors and like other types, the jewels can be found in a wide selection of sizes and shapes. All types of jewelry can be crafted out of jewels from freshwater and for the casual observer simply cannot tell the difference between those grown in freshwater as opposed to spherical jewels found in the sea. The reason behind the difference in price among freshwater pearls and those of other varieties is that mussels grown in freshwater produce more of the spherical jewels at a time than saltwater oysters, which generally grow only one at a time making them more expensive due to the rarity, which also makes freshwater pearl jewelry more affordable. Mussels often produce up to twenty at a time as they are generally larger than oysters. In addition, pearls grown by mussels generally consist of more of the iridescent material or nacre, as a result of growing among fewer irritants than those formed in saltwater.
There are many different types of pearls that can be found both naturally occurring, but more commonly, cultivated by intervention from humans. There are several types can be quite expensive simply due to scarceness. For example, Akoya pearls can be found in a beautiful array of colors including, white, green, cream and rose and can be used to make stunning pieces of jewelry, however, these colored gems can only be found in the lands of the East such as Japan and China. Natural pearls are among the rarest and are considered to be completely natural as they occur completely without human instigation or interference. Among some of the largest are White South Sea Pearls which are generally ten to twenty millimeters in size and can be found in colors such as yellow, blue and even black. These are generally found in tropical regions around Myanymar and Indonesia. Tahitian pearls are unique in that they tend to be black in color. Black gems such as these are so unique the shading of color, shape and size that a hundred years can pass before two similar pearls are found.
Pearl jewelry sets have truly come to define a classic woman. Stunning pearl necklaces are often worn with a matching pair of earrings or tastefully crafted bracelet. Some of the most common adornments worn by brides are pearl necklaces which have occasionally been passed down from mother to daughter, especially as the small spheres represent purity and innocence. Diamonds might be toted as being a 'girl's best friend' but occasionally take a back seat to stunningly classic set of pearls. The spherical jewels gained such status by being some of the oldest known gems which can be found dating back to ancient times as being symbols of the loveliest perfection. Among some of the most famous freshwater pearl jewelry is the necklace worn by Mary, Queen of Scots which dates back to the late fifteen hundreds. Among the world's first cultured pearls occurred beginning around five hundred A.D. when the Chinese began to place very small images of Buddha into mussels, so that the pearlescent nacre would form surrounding the image. Knights retuning from battles during the Crusades would bring back gifts of pearls for their ladies, and Queen Elizabeth I adorned herself with the gems on the day of her wedding, a tradition which has transcended many years and generations.
Freshwater pearl jewelry makes up the most affordable pearl jewelry sets, but necklaces, earrings, brooches and baubles can be found crafted out of some of the finest gems of the sea. When one perceives the pearlescent perfection that results in the natural defensive measures of creature's of the sea, it is easy to see why people have sought out the jewels for centuries, and lauded them among the most precious of materials, for adornment, wealth, and symbolism.