Pearl Education

            When thinking of pearls, most people picture a small round pearls strung into the classic white necklace. However, there is much more to pearls and many different types which can be customized to fit each unique individual.

            There are four different types of pearls; Freshwater, Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian. Most pearls are named for where they are found and the type of water they are located. For example, South Sea pearls are found in the South Seas around Australia while Tahitians are found near Tahiti.

            A pearl is made by a piece of food that is trapped in the mollusk. It then secretes a protective layer over the food particle in order to protect itself. Over time, the mollusk continues to cover the food with more and more layers which result in a pearl. The longer the pearl is in the mollusk, the larger the size. In between the layers there is another protein called nacre. Nacre reflects light giving the pearl its internal shine and glow.

            Only around 1 in every 10,000 pearls is made naturally. Before the twentieth century the only way to obtain a pearl is by diving and gathering mollusks. Today almost all pearls are cultured pearls. In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto discovered culturing by surgically placing a small particle in the mollusk then placing in back in the water instead of waiting for one to be trapped naturally. This practice spread around the globe and now all types of pearls are being cultured. It began with salt water pearls then later spread to fresh water pearls. However, there is still a limited amount of pearls that can be cultured at one time since only one can be made at a time in a salt water mollusk but many can be made in a since fresh water mollusk therefore making salt water pearls such as Akoya Pearls, Tahitian Pearls, and South Sea Pearls more expensive and rare. The first fresh water pearl farm was established in Tennessee in 1963 bringing the art to America.

            No two pearls are the same since they are naturally made just like no two cookies that are home baked are exactly the same. They differ in size, shape, color, and luster. The size and shape are affected by the species of mollusk in which it grows, the amount of time it spends developing, the size of the original nucleus, and where in the mollusk the pearl formed. The shape is also affected by the layers of mucous that are secreted around the nucleus

            Each type comes in a specific range of colors. It shocks people to know that pearls come in black, lavender, pink, peach, and gold as well as the typical white. And within each color there are many different shades and shines. Not all types of pearls come in all colors, each type has its own unique characteristics and color pallete.

            Pearls also range in size from one millimeter until around twenty millimeters and occasionally even larger. Not all pearls have the ability to grow to the larger sizes and some start at about ten millimeters depending on the type and the way the pearl was formed. Freshwater and Akoya Pearls are smaller and max out at around ten millimeters while Tahitian and South Seas start at about nine to ten millimeters and up.

            Just like in diamonds, pearls also have a grading scale for clarity. Some pearls come out of the oysters perfect with no blemish and perfectly round while some look beaten up and dull. It is very rare for a pearl to come out perfect which makes it much pricier. Today, pearls that have minimal blemishes and are fairly round are considered good quality since perfect is extremely rare.

            All of our strands can be customized to various lengths depending on the person's request. The standard length is eighteen inches which will hit an average woman about two inches below the collar bone. Depending on your body type, please specify the right size so we can make the necklace fit you perfectly.