Pearls of Wisdom

Pearl obsession is a genuine and delightful condition. The more you know, the more intriguing these luminous, beautiful gems become. Discover the magic behind the magnificence…

Tahitian Baroque Pearls
Tahitian Baroque Pearls

The Origin Of Magnificence – How It All Begins

Did you know that the pearl is the only gemstone grown inside a living organism?  This fact alone makes pearls extremely unique and valuable.  A pearl is formed within an oyster or mollusk when a foreign substance invades the shell of the mollusk, entering the soft mantel tissue.  In response to the irritation, the oyster secretes epithelial cells which form into a “pearl sac”; this pearl sac then secretes a crystalline substance called nacre, the same substance which makes up the interior of the oyster’s shell, what we know as “Mother of Pearl”.  The nacre continues to build up in layers around the irritant, ultimately forming a pearl.

Almost all pearls are cultivated these days.  It is exceedingly rare to find natural pearls in today’s world, so when a pearl is “natural”, it is much more valuable due to its heightened rarity. In a completely natural state, only a very small percentage of oysters will ever produce a pearl at all.  While cultured pearls may be assisted by man in their creation, the process of pearl formation is completely natural. The pearls grow naturally inside the organism following the biological processes of the oyster.

South Sea and Tahitian Pearls
South Sea and Tahitian Pearls

The Definition Of Class – A Global Obsession

Pearls are typically classified or categorized by either shape or origin.  They come from oysters and mollusks living in different types of water, which produce different geological conditions.  Those conditions tend to foster unique environments for certain types of oysters or mollusks.

Fresh Water pearls literally come from fresh water or mollusks living in lakes and river beds.  Fresh Water pearls are usually much smaller than South Sea Pearls because the oysters and mollusks living in lakes and rivers are smaller organisms.  A  Fresh Water harvest usually takes between 6 months to 3 years to develop the pearls.

South Sea pearls and/or Tahitian pearls are grown inside of oysters living in the “South Seas” between Australia and the coast of China. These pearls tend to differ based on the geographical area in which the oysters/mollusks live because the organisms have different DNA in those different parts of the world. South Sea pearls are generally larger than Fresh Water pearls.   The size of the pearl is directly related to how long the pearl grew or developed within the oyster/mollusk.

4-6 years will produce a pearl on average between 7.5mm to 14mm.

7-10 years will produce a pearl on average between 14-18mm.

20-30 years will produce quite large and unusual pearls of extraordinary beauty and luminosity.

Oval Tahitian Pearl Strands
Oval Tahitian Pearl Strands

A Vibrant Allure – The Science of Color

The color of South Sea Pearls is determined by the type of oyster and the place of origin. Oysters have different colors of meat or mantle tissue lining the inside of their shells. The Pearl will develop in the color of the lining the oyster shell.  White shades of South Sea pearls come from the seas around Australia. Golden and Champagne hued pearls come from the seas around Indonesia and the Philippines.

Assael Pearls of Wisdom
South Sea Baroque Pearls

A Stylish Silhouette – Shape Matters

Pearls are also categorized by shape – either traditional round pearls or baroque pearls. The term baroque refers to the shape of the pearl, which is not symmetrically round. Baroque pearls used to be thrown out as undesirable.  It was only during the “Baroque” period that these pearls were first used in jewelry. Many irregular things were celebrated during this period in history – in architecture and in art.

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