Pearls have always been a symbol of elegance and classy looks. No wonder then that fashionable people, from movie stars to royalty wear it in all forms and shapes. Like all precious stones, there are dupes too. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you choose pearls.
- Shape- while pearls are rice shaped, oval and round. The perfect circle is the most expensive.
- Shine- lustreless pearls are not attractive. To see the shine of a pearl, hold it against a white cloth or paint. You’ll be clearly able to see how shiny the pearl is.
- Size- 8 mm and above and the pearl costs twice as much! The bigger the pearl, the more you pay.
- Blemishes- the pearls need to have few or no imperfections. Run your fingers on the surface of the pearl to check for this aspect.
Freshwater pearls – these are mostly found in China, in manmade water bodies, usually reservoirs and lakes. They come in a variety of colours, are relatively inexpensive and last a whole lot longer. Their gorgeous lustre comes from the nacre layer being thick. Freshwater peals are harvested from mussels. Japan and the USA are the countries that produce these pearls extensively. While you can harvest close to three dozen pearls from a single mussel, the true shining pearls come from the older mussels. Freshwater pearls are for the yuppy wearer; they are affordable, carry the softest of colours and their shine is muted and understated. These pearls come in light shades- pink, peach and white.
Saltwater pearls- the mollusc in this category lives in a salty environment. The outer layer is not as thick as freshwater pearls, but it is still hardy enough to not be damaged easily. It has a pleasing round shape. The reason saltwater pearls are more expensive lies in their vintage. For them to have value, they should be over two decades old. They are also exclusive- unlike the freshwater mussel with its multiple yields, the oyster in this case produces only one pearl with each yield. The country it is made in also makes a difference. Japan is the home of the best saltwater pearls. Costs are higher here- this adds to the cost of the pearl. The most popular saltwater pearls are from the South Sea, Tahiti and Akoya pearls. Saltwater pearls grow in atolls and inlets in many parts of the world, including Indonesia, Thailand and Australia. These pearls are gold, peacock blue, dark, and light gray, purple and white in colour.
The South Sea pearls are considered the epitome of luxury. They are by far the largest kind grown. They come in many shapes- oval, baroque and drop.
Tahitian pearls are naturally black- a striking sight. They do come in other dark colours too. It’s made from the black lip oyster and is cultivated in the French Polynesian islands. Hence its name.
Akoya pearls are THE choice when it comes to fabulous pearls. These pearls have been the by-word of culture for over a century.
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