Pearls are environmental gem occurring naturally in our water bodies and often are the object of awe to the onlookers. They have a unique luster and sheen that is unmatched and rare to find. They are mounted on different kinds of jewelry ranging from necklace, earrings, bracelet, rings, and pendants. Read ahead and you can find out more about this amazing aquatic bounty.
Basic formation and types
The basic types of pearls are natural or cultured. Every pearl formed has to go through a series of processes before becoming a jewel’s pride. The process involves the production of layers of nacre, a secretion from the mollusk, around any type of irritant within the shell to form the pearl finally.
In case of a natural pearl, the irritant could be another organism from the water, a fragment of shell, fishbone or sand that inadvertently drifts into the shell of a pearl oyster. Natural pearls are very rare and were normally found in the Persian Gulf. Most of them have been harvested and you may find some small ones which are highly expensive.
In a cultured pearl, the irritant is a bead nucleus or a piece of tissue, inserted by a master grafter into the mollusk to start the process.
In these the saltwater pearls are grown in the Chinese and Japanese water which also includes the Akoya cultured pearls. They are round in shape with a white or cream color.
The largest of all the pearls are the South Sea pearl. They are produced in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and come in natural white, cream, and golden color.
One of the most interesting ones is the Tahitian pearls found in the French Polynesian islands including Tahiti. These pearls are naturally colored and are collectively known as a black pearl. Their colors vary from gray, blue, green and purple.
The freshwater pearls are the ones grown in the freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. They are found in the waters of China and are similar to Akoya pearls. They come in various shapes and pastel shades.
Imitations pearls are simply coated glass beads. Though they have a luster, it is not as fine as the lustrous natural or cultured pearls.
Shape and shine
- The quality of the nacre decides the level of the luster or shine a pearl possess
- The luster of the pearl not only adds to its beauty but also assists in deciding its market value.
- It should have a smooth surface without any marks or dents.
- Generally, it is round, oval or pear-shaped but occasionally you may find a misshapen pearl. These misshapen pearls are called baroque pearls.