Pearl

Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic.

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BIRTHSTONES &
ANNIVERSARIES

Pearl is the birthstone for June and the gem of the third and thirtieth anniversaries.

 

ABOUT PEARL

Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, pearls—natural and cultured—occur in a wide variety of colors. The most familiar are white and cream, but the palette of colors extends to every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre.


WHY WE LOVE THIS GEMSTONE

2206 BC

A Chinese historian writes about pearls for the first time.

 

653 FIFTH AVENUE

In 1917, Pierre Cartier traded a double strand of natural pearls for a mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

1893

Kokichi Mikimoto successfully cultures a pearl in Japan.

LUSTER

Luster results from reflection of light rays off the pearl’s surface, and from concentric inner layers of nacre, like light bouncing off a convex mirror.

IMITATIONS

Imitation pearls are smooth when rubbed against your teeth, while natural or cultured pearls have a slightly rough texture.

NATURAL PEARLS

Natural pearls can be separated from cultured pearls by taking X-rays to reveal their inner structures.


QUALITY FACTORS

An assessment of the following characteristics determines the value of each type of pearl.

LUSTER Pearls with high luster have sharp bright reflections on the surface.

LUSTER
Pearls with high luster have sharp bright reflections on the surface.

COLOR Although white is most classic, appreciation has grown for more unusual natural colors.

COLOR
Although white is most classic, appreciation has grown for more unusual natural colors.

SURFACE QUALITY The number of blemishes on a pearl's surface is evaluated to judge quality.

SURFACE QUALITY
The number of blemishes on a pearl's surface is evaluated to judge quality.

SHAPE Spherical pearls are the most valued but symmetrical drops are also sought.

SHAPE
Spherical pearls are the most valued but symmetrical drops are also sought.

NACRE THICKNESS Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are durable as well as beautiful.

NACRE THICKNESS
Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are durable as well as beautiful.

SIZE Cultured pearls range from 2-16mm in diameter, depending on the mollusk used.

SIZE
Cultured pearls range from 2-16mm in diameter, depending on the mollusk used.

MATCHING For pearl strands and multi-pearl pieces, how well the pearls match (or mix) affects the value.

MATCHING
For pearl strands and multi-pearl pieces, how well the pearls match (or mix) affects the value.