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Buying Pearls

Jewelry is special. It lasts a lifetime. It has always been an emotional and sentimental experience that evokes wonderful memories while still giving pleasure for years ahead. When buying for yourself of for others, one has to have an understanding of the qualities and characteristics of jewelry, which is why Surat Diamond has put forth this article.

Pearls and their Characteristics?

  • Kinds of Pearls:
    • A culture pearl is formed by an oyster, composed of concentric layers of a crystalline substance called nacre deposited around an irritant purposely placed in the oyster’s body.
    • Natural pearls are formed by deposits of nacre around an irritant which accidentally lodges within the body of an oyster.
    • An imitation is anything else which resembles a pearl but has a surface created by a manufacturing process- this is an imitation or simulated pearl and must be labeled as such.
  • Value: The Value of a pearl is detemined from it’s unique ability of the crystalline nacre to absorb, refract and reflex light imparting a distinctive quality, termed orient, to natural and cultured pearls.
  • Orient: It is the deep inner glow and shimmering iridescent characteristics of sea grown pearls. The deeper the luster and iridescence, the more precious the pearl.
  • Size: The size of the pearl contributes to it’s price. As it is more difficult for oysters to grow large pearls, they are more scarce. But two pearls of difference sizes may be valued the same if the smaller pearl is superior in orient.
  • Shape: The shape too determines it’s value. The more symmetrical the shape, the more valueable is the pearl. Examples of symmetrical pearls include – round, pear shape, tear shape and oval. Pearls of irregular and a symmetrical shape are termed baroque. Oysters grow pearls in many different shapes, from perfect spheres to long flat angle wing pearls.
  • Surface perfection: The surface of a perfect pearl appears smooth, but when viewed closely, natural or cultured pearls may appear to have irregular surfaces which do not detract from value, as do disfiguring blemishes. You don’t need a magnifier to detect blemishes – when they are present, they can be easily seen.
  • Rarity: Cultured pearls themselves are relatively rare, as they can only be developed in limited areas of the world’s oceans and take years to grow. A perfect pair of pearls are very rare because nature makes few pearls exactly alike in orient, shape and colour.

Types of Pearls

  • Akoya – One of the most familiar type of cultured pearls. They are grown in pearl oysters off the coast of Japan. Akoya pearls are know for their lovely orient and warm colour. They rarely grow more than 9mm in size.
  • Mabe – A large hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shells of oysters instead of within the body. Less expensive than regular round cultured pearls and, because of their hemispherical shape, they are usually mounted in such jewellery as earrings, rings and brooches.
  • Fresh water – Pearls cultivated in molluscs, not oysters, found in fresh water lakes and rivers. Fresh water pearls generally are elongated in shape and have a milky translucent appearance. Their wide range of interesting shapes and colours make up in fashion appeal for their relatively low value. In China, shape and luster are rapidly improving and round freshwater pearls are readily available.
  • Keshi – Seedless pearls which form naturally in many cultured pearl oysters in both Akoya and South Sea Pearls. They also come in a variety of colours, sh