Pearls

Pearls, the birthstone for June and probably the most classic and timeless of gems since they offer an easy elegance and sophistication, whether worn with a cocktail dress of paired more casually with jeans.  If you are not a lover of pearls.  Most people like pearls, but if not, June babies can also wear Alexandritewhich is the other designated birthstone for June. 

Crystal Structure

Orthorhombic

Composition

Calcium carbonate, conchiolin, and water

Hardness

3

Pearls, probably the most classic and timeless of gems they offer an easy elegance and sophistication. Often worn as bridal jewelry and found in wedding tiara’s.

Natural pearls are an organic gem usually formed in the shell of certain mollusks.  Fine natural pearls nowadays command high prices, since during the twentieth century they more or less disappeared form the jewelry market, due to pollution, over fishing and other economic factors.

Caring for your pearls

Pearls are very soft a 2 – 4 on the Mohs Scale and be easily scratched and marked. Perfume, hair spray, and perspiration amongst others can damage the nacre.  High heat can cause discoloraton or cracking.

After wearing, wipe your pearls with a very soft clean cloth before putting them away to remove any acid or traces of perfume picked up from your skin. Never steam clean and never use an ultrasonic cleaner.  Occasional cleaning can be done with warm soapy water, if the pearls are sturng, be sure they are completely dry before wearing.

Lloyd Bangle, Pearls and Diamonds
Lloyd Bangle
Pearl & Diamond Bangle Bracelet

Did you know…

That in Singapore, it is believed that pearls can help improve your complexion.  You can go the the medicine shop where they will make up the prescription for you, by taking fresh water pearls which are then pulverised to a powder this is mixed with water to a liquid, which you then drink.

History and different types of Pearl

Much of the pearl jewelry available now features cultured pearls.  The mollusks are farmed specifically for culturing pearls, whereby skilled technicians insert a shell bead or other similar irritant into the mollusk.  These act as an irritant and trigger the secretion of nacre which is what makes the pearl.  Culturing of pearls is not new, and began in China and Japan hundreds of years ago.

The positive indentification of natural pearls requires laboratory testing, but a trained gemologist can often identify cultured pearls with a reasonably high degree of certainty.  Some well known types of cultured pearl on the market today include:

Akoya – most are of a cream bodycolor, but other natural colors include yellow, gray and blue. They can be as small as 2mm or as big as 11mm. Both China and Japan produce saltwater Akoya pearls.

South Sea – these are a bit larger and usually range from 8mm to 18mm. Most commonly are white, cream and golden (dark yellowish brown). Leading sources are Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, but also now produced in Myanmar and Thailand.

Tahaitian – named as such since they are cultivated in the French Polynesian Islands, the most well known of which is Tahaiti.  They most often range from white to black, but can also be greens and purples. Typical size is 8mm to 17mm.

Specific Gravity

2.71

Refractive Values

1.53 – 1.68

birefringence (doubly refractive gems only)

Not applicable

Lustre

Pearly

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