Jewelry constantly evolves with time and fashion but if you are in possession of stone jewelry, especially one that has precious and gleaming pearls, then know that you have a timeless piece of beauty that can get you through all eras of fashion!
Pearl, also known as the ‘Queen of Gems’ and the ‘Stone of Sincerity’, is considered a symbol of purity and beauty. Plus, it is one of those precious stones that can enhance the beauty of both cotemporary and vintage jewelry. The best part about original pearls is that they can last for ages if kept with care, and that makes them a worthy investment.
Various Types of Pearls
If you are going out for pearl shopping then you need to know about the various types of pearls available in the market, so that you may find the perfect one for yourself. So, here is a brief overview that can help you with your pearl selection.
These are the most precious pearls of all, which also makes them the most expensive ones. As it is evident from the name, nature exclusively produces these pearls without any human manipulation. This is the reason that these natural stones are found in several shapes including button, oval, baroque, round, and odd shapes. Its availability is extremely rare so if you find it at any jeweler’s shop, don’t let it go; although its purchase will certainly cost you a fortune!
These natural stones are created by pearl producing mollusks such as abalone, mussel, and most common of all, oysters. The interference of an external stimulus like parasite, bone, or scale with the mollusk leads to the formation of a nucleus on the intruding element and over the years this coating on nucleus thickens, which ultimately leads to the development of pearls. The size and shape of the natural pearls is dependent on the nucleus’ shape and size.
Fresh Water Pearls
They might look like natural pearls at first glance, but upon close inspection, you can distinguish the freshwater ones from the natural ones. The most amazing feature of these stones is their color. You can find them in several stunning pastel colors including orange, pink, and black. Their size usually ranges from 3 mm to 12 mm.
Freshwater pearls are cultivated in ponds, rivers, and freshwater lakes by inserting a tissue in the mollusk. It leads to the deposition of a thick layer of the nucleus on the tissue. Most of these stones are cultivated in China. Their some-what easy availability makes them the least expensive of all types of pearls. So, if you are on a budget, then you will find these stones the most affordable of all!
The size of these pearls is usually between 2 mm and 10 mm and they are golden, cream, or white in color. The South Sea pearl is the largest of all saltwater pearls, ranging from 9 mm to 29 mm in size. It is produced in Philippines, Australia, and Indonesia. Besides the South Sea pearls, Akoya, and Tahitian pearls are the ones commonly available in the market.
These stones are cultivated in oceans by inserting a small round bead in the mollusk to stimulate the pearl production process. Rounded beads lead to the formation of round pearls. Saltwater pearls are commonly gathered from the Red Sea, the coastal waters of Japan and India, and the Persian Gulf. Tahiti pearls are acquired from the islands of French Polynesia, in addition to Tahiti.
These are manmade stones that are modified to look like real pearls. Imitation pearls are available in versatile qualities depending on the material used in their formation. Commonly they are made of plastic, glass or mollusk shells and covered with a coating of synthetic pearl essence, lacquer, cellulose or pearl essence to give a luscious, shiny appearance.
It is quite easy to distinguish imitation pearls from the real ones. Rub it lightly against your front teeth; if it feels rough, then it’s the real deal! Moreover, real ones are heavier in weight than the imitation ones and they don’t lose their quality or fade over time. Imitation pearls can be easily found in the market at low prices.
In addition to being rare, strikingly beautiful and priceless, pearls are also associated with the traits of faith, innocence, and integrity. They are known for generating strong, positive vibes that can nullify the negativity of the environment and can help you relax. According to some myths, this stone symbolizes a connection with goddesses Yemanya and Kuan Yin, which are associated with strong feminine powers of motherhood, protectiveness, and compassion.
According to the Hindu and Sanskrit beliefs, pearl is a water element that strengthens creativity, personal power, intuition, and communication with humans and god. If worn during yoga or meditation, this stone will make the process easier for you. In the Chinese culture, pearl is also used in traditional medicine, and is believed to have healing abilities that can be used to treat various ailments like bleeding, indigestion, bloating, fever, and heart problems. It increases female fertility and eases the childbirth process. In addition to stone, pearl powder is also considered beneficial. It is used as a beauty element for whitening the skin and as a healing element to reduce acne and rosacea.
The formation process of pearl witnesses several lunar cycles, allowing the stone to absorb energy generated as the planets shift. Due to this reason, it is believed to have strong magnetic powers and is also associated with the ‘matrix of life.’ This energy helps in balancing the body’s natural rhythm, mood swings, and hormone levels, which leads to a happy, calm, and peaceful mind.
Pearl is the birthstone of June, in addition to Moonstone and Alexandrite. It is also considered the 30th anniversary gemstone.
Like all other valuable stones, there are several myths associated with the origin of this beauty. Ancient Chinese believed that the first pearl was acquired from the brain of a dragon. According to Greek mythology, these precious gems are the hardened tears of joy that the goddess of love shed after her birth from the sea. Arab legends state that the shining moon lured oysters from the depths of the ocean and they ended up swallowing moonlight dewdrops after which pearls came into formation.
We know that science has falsified all these myths but their presence still adds a mystical attraction to these valuable gemstones.
Pearls for the Privileged!
Before science made it possible for humans to cultivate these stones, they were only found in possession of royals. The Roman Empire in particular was known for its huge collection of pearl jewelry. Its popularity in medieval Europe can be gauged from the fact that the 1500s in Tudor England were known as the ‘Pearl age.’
In 17th and 18th century, the high-class people of the society wore pearl jewelry to make a social statement. By the 19th century, this gemstone was used in unique fashionable jewelry to make a style statement rather than a social one. In the 1900’s, the production of cultured pearls made it possible for common people to purchase its jewelry. However, the fact remains that real pearls are hard to acquire due to their high prices.
If you want to purchase pearl jewelry then make sure to go to a reliable jeweler that can provide you a gemstone worth your money!