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1 November 2016

The Ladies Guide to Pearls…

By: Liz Allister

The Ultimate Guide to PearlsThey truly are an exquisite gem and the fine jewellery collectors love affair with pearls has been existent for an eternity. 


PEARLS

If diamonds are a girls best friend, then pearls are her glamorous, wiser, older sister. Once the epitome of hollywood glamour, pearls can still ooze sophistication but newer contemporary designs are starting to have a little fun with pearls….cue Carrie Bradshaw…

PEARLS2

But, like the lady who wears them, no two pearls are created equal. And of course, sometimes what you see isn’t necessarily what you get.

If you’re thinking of investing in some pearls there is a lot you need to learn before diving in…although, maybe leave the actual diving to the pearl farmers eh 😉

 

Know your pearls; select the very best

What should I consider before purchasing?

With diamonds you’ve got your 4 C’s (if you’re not sure what they are don’t worry, they will be covered in a future post) now pearls aren’t quite as handy as keeping within the same letter, but you do have 5 key things to bear in mind – lustre, size, shape, colour and complexion.

 

LUSTRE
Is your top priority – this relates to the pearl’s iridescence and depth. Just as you don’t want a diamond that’s all size and no sparkle a pearl that is dull and doesn’t catch colour and lights is no good no matter what it’s size!

SHAPES
Vary and largely this is down to personal preference, baroque is popular, tear drop and perfectly circular are incredibly rare and are therefore highly desirable.

A FLAWLESS COMPLEXION
Is every girls dream, and same goes for your pearls….these will always hold a higher value. Flawless complexion in naturally cultured pearls is extremely rare, and we’re all aware of what supply and demand does for value.

SIZE
In terms of their value, yes, bigger is better. Obviously however, it will depend slightly on what you want the pearl for, necklaces are usually made with large pearls but smaller ones may be used in a bracelet or a pair of earrings.

COLOUR
Very much down to personal preference and shouldn’t bear too much on the value.

 

When buying any pearls, make sure that you purchase them from a reputable source to ensure their authenticity and origin.

The varieties of pearls available are endless, each with their slight nuances and differences. We can run you through a few of the best varieties you may come across…

 

1. South Sea Cultured Pearls

Pearls_2

A black South Sea Pearl with perfect complexion and stunning lustre

These are some of the rarest and most exceptional pearls you are likely to find. Theyalso prove that size does matter (sorry guys) being some of the largest pearls around.

The pearls emerge from the Silver and Gold lipped Pinctada Maxima oyster, which can be found in the South Seas region covering northern Australia, Indonesia, the Phillipines and parts of Burma.

This elusive and sought-after pearl has a thick natural nacre, and an appearance that often changes according to different light conditions. Its colouring ranges from white to silver and cream through to yellow and deep gold. Hints of pink, green and blue tones are also often evident in their appearance.

The shape and size is likely to vary pearl by pearl, due to the natural process of cultivating the pearls. Due to the rarity of the oyster from which these pearls are found, the cultivating process becomes far more complex than with other types of pearls thus adding to the exclusivity of such a pearl, and of course it’s value.

 

2.Tahitian Pearls

PEARLS3

DMR Pearl Whirlwind uses a stunning flawless Tahitian Pearl

This beautiful pearl originates in the South Seas and is said to be a symbol of purity and elegance.

Often thought to be black pearls, they actually exist in a wide range of hues, which can vary from cream to green and blue to grey. Most of these pearls range in size between 8mm and 14mm. Very rarely, some are larger than 18mm, and these pearls are the most sought after.

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String of Black Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian Pearls are available in different shapes, which are usually divided into six categories. The favourite amongst connoisseurs of fine jewellery is the white round pearl, but it is often a matter of taste.

 

3. Akoya Cultured Pearls

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Akoya Cultured Pearls are treasured by lovers of fine jewellery across the globe. From Japan, this pearl comes from the Pinctada fucata martensii oyster.

Akoya Cultured Pearls are distinguished according to factors such as size, shape, nacre thickness, surface, colour and lustre. Sizes vary for this pearl, ranging from 2mm to 10mm.

As with other types of pearls, Akoya Cultured Pearls come in a variety of shapes, including drop, pear, baroque and round. Historically, the round pearls are the most desirable, but as with diamonds different shapes can sometimes hold court in people affections.

The thickness of the nacre influences many of its aesthetic features, including colour, lustre, durability and elasticity. The nacre structure also contributes to the uniqueness of each Tahitian Pearl. There are various shades of Akoya Cultured Pearls, including white, silver, rose pink and pink, as well as cream, gold, green and blue.

 

How should I care for my Pearls? 

You have to think of your precious pearls in the same way you do a precious and valuable woman. Their beautiful nacre makes them appear strong and tough, but if they’re not treated in the right way they will loose their shine, they will begin to dull and the string could wither leaving you with a terrible mess.

You should never store your pearls with the rest of you jewellery, this isn’t a jealousy thing… they can just easily become damaged. Instead wrap them in a soft cloth when they’re in storage. You should really give them a good clean as well before they’re stored away. Create a mix of diluted alcohol and warm water (a night cap for your jewels) and clean them down with a soft cloth. Make sure they’ve dried off before putting them away.

Although pearls should never be an afterthought, they should be the very last step in the process of getting yourself ready for a night out. Not until your make up is on, your perfume has been sprayed and your hair has been set, and your other half has asked for the millionth time how much longer you will be, should the pearls go on. Think of it as that final step before you head out the door, the last lick of paint on an already perfect painting.

This isn’t due to any diva’ish behaviour on your pearls part, it’s just your precious and delicate pearls should not come into contact with any perfume or hairspray as over time this will damage the nacre and therefore the look and appearance of the pearl.

Which pearls have caught your eye?

 

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